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1    9     O      7  Q  CHICAGO 




FIRST  EDITION  — 1,000  copies.  Printed  November,  1899. 

SECOND  IMPRESSION  —1,500  copies.  Printed  February,  1900. 

THIRD  IMPRESSION    —5,000  copies.  Printed  July,  1900. 

FOURTH  IMPRESSION  — i ,000  copies.  Printed  June,  1904. 

FIFTH  IMPRESSION    —2,500  copies.  Printed  February,  1905. 

SIXTH  IMPRESSION     —2,500  copies.  Printed  August,  1907. 

Composed  and  Printed  By 

The  University  of  Chicago  Press 

Chicago.  Illinois.  U.  S.  A. 







I.     THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIAL  PROGRESS     .      19 








DRAWING  OF  A  CAVE  AND  TREES       ....  56 





THE  three  lectures  presented  in  the  following 
pages  were  delivered  before  an  audience  of 
parents  and  others  interested  in  the  University 
Elementary  School,  in  the  month  of  April  of 
the  year  1899.  Mr.  Dewey  revised  them  in 
part  from  a  stenographic  report,  and  unimpor 
tant  changes  and  the  slight  adaptations  neces 
sary  for  the  press  have  been  made  in  his  absence. 
The  lectures  retain  therefore  the  unstudied  char 
acter  as  well  as  the  power  of  the  spoken  word. 
As  they  imply  more  or  less  familiarity  with 
the  work  of  the  Elementary  School,  Mr.  Dewey's 
supplementary  statement  of  this  has  been  added. 


A  SECOND  edition  affords  a  grateful  opportunity 
for  recalling  that  this  little  book  is  a  sign  of  the 
cooperating  thoughts  and  sympathies  of  many 
persons.  Its  indebtedness  to  Mrs.  Emmons 
Elaine  is  partly  indicated  in  the  dedication. 
From  my  friends,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  George  Herbert 
Mead,  came  that  interest,  unflagging  attention  to 
detail,  and  artistic  taste  which,  in  my  absence, 
remade  colloquial  remarks  until  they  were  fit  to 
print,  and  then  saw  the  results  through  the  press 
with  the  present  attractive  result — a  mode  of 
authorship  made  easy,  which  I  recommend  to 
others  fortunate  enough  to  possess  such  friends. 

It  would  be  an  extended  paragraph  which 
should  list  all  the  friends  whose  timely  and  per 
sisting  generosity  has  made  possible  the  school 
which  inspired  and  defined  the  ideas  of  these 
pages.  These  friends,  I  am  sure,  would  be  the 
first  to  recognize  the  peculiar  appropriateness  of 
especial  mention  of  the  names  of  Mrs.  Charles  R. 
Crane  and  Mrs.  William  R.  Linn. 

And  the  school  itself  in  its  educational  work  is 
a  joint  undertaking.  Many  have  engaged  in 
shaping  it.  The  clear  and  experienced  intelli 
gence  of  my  wife  is  wrought  everywhere  into  its 

texture.  The  wisdom,  tact  and  devotion  of  its 
instructors  have  brought  about  a  transformation 
of  its  original  amorphous  plans  into  articulate 
form  and  substance  with  life  and  movement  of 
their  own.  Whatever  the  issue  of  the  ideas  pre 
sented  in  this  book,  the  satisfaction  coming  from 
the  cooperation  of  the  diverse  thoughts  and  deeds 
of  many  persons  in  undertaking  to  enlarge  the 
life  of  the  child  will  abide. 

January  5,  1900 



We  are  apt  to  look  at  the  school  from  an  individu 
alistic  standpoint,  as  something  between  teacher 
and  pupil,  or  between  teacher  and  parent.  That 
which  interests  us  most  is  naturally  the  progress 
made  by  the  individual  child  of  our  acquaintance, 
his  normal  physical  development,  his  advance  in 
ability  to  read,  write,  and  figure,  his  growth  in 
the  knowledge  of  geography  and  history,  im 
provement  in  manners,  habits  of  promptness, 
order,  and  industry  —  it  is  from  such  standards  as 
these  that  we  judge  the  work  of  the  school.  And 
rightly  so.  Yet  the  range  of  the  outlook  needs 
to  be  enlarged.  What  the  best  and  wisest  parent 
wants  for  his  own  child,  that  must  the  community 
want  for  all  of  its  children.  Any  other  ideal  for 
our  schools  is  narrow  and  unlovely ;  acted  upon, 
it  destroys  our  democracy.  All  that  society  has 
accomplished  for  itself  is  put,  through  the  agency 
of  the  school,  at  the  disposal  of  its  future  mem 
bers.  All  its  better  thoughts  of  itself  it  hopes  to 
realize  through  the  new  possibilities  thus  opened 
to  its  future  self.  !••  Here  individualism  and  social 
ism  are  at  one.  Only  by  being  true  to  the  full 
growth  of  all  the  individuals  who  make  it  up,  can 


society  by  any  chance  be  true  to  itself.  And  in 
the  self-direction  thus  given,  nothing  counts  as 
much  as  the  school,  for,  as  Horace  Mann  said, 
"  Where  anything  is  growing,  one  former  is 
worth  a  thousand  re-formers." 

Whenever  we  have  in  mind  the  discussion  of 
a  new  movement  in  education,  it  is  especially 
necessary  to  take  the  broader,  or  social  view. 
Otherwise,  changes  in  the  school  institution  and 
tradition  will  be  looked  at  as  the  arbitrary  inven 
tions  of  particular  teachers ;  at  the  worst  transi 
tory  fads,  and  at  the  best  merely  improvements 
in  certain  details  —  and  this  is  the  plane  upon 
which  it  is  too  customary  to  consider  school 
changes.  It  is  as  rational  to  conceive  of  the 
locomotive  or  the  telegraph  as  personal  devices. 
The  modification  going  on  in  the  method  and"* 
curriculum  of  education  is  as  much  a  product  of 
the  changed  social  situation,  and  as  much  an  effort 
to  meet  the  needs  of  the  new  society  that,  is  j 
forming,  as  are  changes  in  modes  of  industry  and 

It  is  to  this,  then,  that  I  especially  ask  your 
attention  :  the  effort  to  conceive  what  roughly 
may  be  termed  the  "  New  Education"  in  the 
light  of  larger  changes  in  society.  Can  we 
connect  this  "New  Education"  with  the  general 
march  of  events  ?  If  we  can,  it  will  lose  its  iso 
lated  character,  and  will  cease  to  be  an  affair  which 


proceeds  only  from  the  over-ingenious  minds  of 
pedagogues  dealing  with  particular  pupils.  It 
will  appear  as  part  and  parcel  of  the  whole  social 
evolution,  and,  in  its  more  general  features  at 
least,  as  inevitable.  Let  us  then  ask  after  the  main 
aspects  of  the  social  movement ;  and  afterwards 
turn  to  the  school  to  find  what  witness  it  gives  of 
effort  to  put  itself  in  line.  And  since  it  is  quite 
impossible  to  cover  the  whole  ground,  I  shall  for 
the  most  part  confine  myself  to  one  typical 
thing  in  the  modern  school  movement — that 
which  passes  under  the  name  of  manual  training, 
hoping  if  the  relation  of  that  to  changed  social 
conditions  appears,  we  shall  be  ready  to  concede 
the  point  as  well  regarding  other  educational 

I  make  no  apology  for  not  dwelling  at  length 
upon  the  social  changes  in  question.  Those  I 
shall  mention  are  writ  so  large  that  he  who  runs 
may  read.  The  change  that  comes  first  to  mind, 
the  one  that  overshadows  and  even  controls  all 
others,  is  the  industrial  one  —  the  application  of 
science  resulting  in  the  great  inventions  that  have 
utilized  the  forces  of  nature  on  a  vast  and  inex 
pensive  scale :  the  growth  of  a  world-wide 
market  as  the  object  of  production,  of  vast 
manufacturing  centers  to  supply  this  market,  of 
cheap  and  rapid  means  of  communication  and 
distribution  between  all  its  parts.  Even  as  to  its 


feebler  beginnings,  this  change  is  not  much  more 
than  a  century  old  ;  in  many  of  its  most  impor 
tant  aspects  it  falls  within  the  short  span  of  those 
now  living.  One  can  hardly  believe  there  has 
been  a  revolution  in  all  history  so  rapid,  so 
extensive,  so  complete.  Through  it  the  face  of 
the  earth  is  making  over,  even  as  to  its  physical 
forms;  political  boundaries  are  wiped  out  and 
moved  about,  as  if  they  were  indeed  only  lines 
on  a  paper  map  ;  population  is  hurriedly  gathered 
into  cities  from  the  ends  of  the  earth  ;  habits  of 
living  are  altered  with  startling  abruptness  and 
thoroughness  ;  the  search  for  the  truths  of  nature 
is  infinitely  stimulated  and  facilitated  and  their 
application  to  life  made  not  only  practicable, 
but  commercially  necessary.  Even  our  moral 
and  religious  ideas  and  interests,  the  most  con 
servative  because  the  deepest-lying  things  in 
our  nature,  are  profoundly  affected.  That  this 
revolution  should  not  affect  education  in  other 
than  formal  and  superficial  fashion  is  inconceiv 

Back  of  the  factory  system  lies  the  household 
and  neighborhood  system.  Those  of  us  who 
are  here  today  need  go  back  only  one,  two,  or 
at  most  three  generations,  to  find  a  time  when 
the  household  was  practically  the  center  in  which 
were  carried  on,  or  about  which  were  clustered, 
all  the  typical  forms  of  industrial  occupation. 


The  clothing  worn  was  for  the  most  part  not  only 
made  in  the  house,  but  the  members  of  the  house 
hold  were  usually  familiar  with  the  shearing  of 
the  sheep,  the  carding  and  spinning  of  the  wool, 
and  the  plying  of  the  loom.  Instead  of  pressing 
a  button  and  flooding  the  house  with  electric 
light,  the  whole  process  of  getting  illumination 
was  followed  in  its  toilsome  length,  from  the 
killing  of  the  animal  and  the  trying  of  fat,  to  the 
making  of  wicks  and  dipping  of  candles.  The 
supply  of  flour,  of  lumber,  of  foods,  of  building 
materials,  of  household  furniture,  even  of  metal 
ware,  of  nails,  hinges,  hammers,  etc.,  was  in  the 
immediate  neighborhood,  in  shops  which  were 
constantly  open  to  inspection  and  often  centers 
of  neighborhood  congregation.  The  entire  in 
dustrial  process  stood  revealed,  from  the  produc 
tion  on  the  farm  of  the  raw  materials,  till  the 
finished  article  was  actually  put  to  use.  Not 
only  this,  but  practically  every  member  of  the 
household  had  his  own  share  in  the  work.  The 
children,  as  they  gained  in  strength  and  capacity, 
were  gradually  initiated  into  the  mysteries  of  the 
several  processes.  It  was  a  matter  of  immediate 
and  personal  concern,  even  to  the  point  of  actual 

We  cannot  overlook  the  factors  of  discipline 
and  of  character-building  involved  in  this :  train 
ing  in  habits  of  order  and  of  industry,  and  in 


the  idea  of  responsibility,  of  obligation  to  do 
something,  to  produce  something,  in  the  world. 
There  was  always  something  which  really 
needed  to  be  done,  and  a  real  necessity  that  each 
member  of  the  household  should  do  his  own  part 
faithfully  and  in  cooperation  with  others.  Person 
alities  which  became  effective  in  action  were  bred 
and  tested  in  the  medium  of  action.  Again,  we 
cannot  overlook  the  importance  for  educational 
purposes  of  the  close  and  intimate  acquaintance 
got  with  nature  at  first  hand,  with  real  things  and 
materials,  with  the  actual  processes  of  their  manip 
ulation,  and  the  knowledge  of  their  social  neces 
sities  and  uses.  In  all  this  there  was  continual 
training  of  observation,  of  ingenuity,  constructive 
imagination,  of  logical  thought,  and  of  the  sense 
of  reality  acquired  through  first-hand  contact  with 
actualities.  The  educative  forces  of  the  domestic 
spinning  and  weaving,  of  the  saw-mill,  the  grist 
mill,  the  cooper  shop,  and  the  blacksmith  forge, 
were  continuously  operative. 

No  number  of  object-lessons,  got  up  as  object- 
lessons  for  the  sake  of  giving  information,  can 
afford  even  the  shadow  of  a  substitute  for  ac 
quaintance  with  the  plants  and  animals  of  the 
farm  and  garden,  acquired  through  actual  living 
among  them  and  caring  for  them.  No  training  of 
sense-organs  in  school,  introduced  for  the  sake  of 
training,  can  begin  to  compete  with  the  alertness 



and  fullness  of  sense-life  thafcomes  through  daily 
intimacy  and'  interest  in  familiar  occupations. 
Verbal  memory  can  be  trained  in  committing 
tasks,  a  certain  discipline  of  the  reasoning 
powers  can  be  acquired  through  lessons  in  sci 
ence  and  mathematics ;  but,  after  all,  this  is 
somewhat  remote  and  shadowy  compared  with 
the  training  of  attention  and  of  judgment  that  is 
acquired  in  having  to  do  things  with  a  real  motive 
behind  and  a  real  outcome  ahead.  At  present, 
concentration  of  industry  and  division  of  labor 
have  practically  eliminated  household  and  neigh 
borhood  occupations —  at  least  for  educational  pur 
poses.  But  it  is  useless  to  bemoan  the  departure 
of  the  good  old  days  of  children's  modesty,  rever 
ence,  and  implicit  obedience,  if  we  expect  merely 
by  bemoaning  and  by  exhortation  to  bring  them 
back.  It  is  radical  conditions  which  have 
changed,  and  only  an  equally  radical  change  in 
education  suffices.  We  must  recognize  our  com 
pensations —  the  increase  in  toleration,  in  breadth 
of  social  judgment,  the  larger  acquaintance  with 
human  nature,  the  sharpened  alertness  in  reading 
signs  of  character  and  interpreting  social  situa 
tions,  greater  accuracy  of  adaptation  to  differing 
personalities,  contact  with  greater  commercial 
activities.  These  considerations  mean  much  to 
the  city-bred  child  of  today.  Yet  there  is  a  real 
problem  :  how  shall  we  retain  these  advantages, 


and  yet  introduce  into  the  school  something  rep 
resenting  the  other  side  of  life — occupations 
which  exact  personal  responsibilities  and  which 
train  the  child  with  relation  to  the  physical  reali 
ties  of  life  ? 

When  we  turn  to  the  school,  we  find  that  one 
of  the  most  striking  tendencies  at  present  is 
toward  the  introduction  of  so-called  manual 
training,  shop-work,  and  the  household  arts  — 
sewing  and  cooking. 

This  has  not  been  done  "on  purpose,"  with  a 
full  consciousness  that  the  school  must  now  sup 
ply  that  factor  of  training  formerly  taken  care  of 
in  the  home,  but  rather  by  instinct,  by  experiment 
ing  and  finding  that  such  work  takes  a  vital  hold 
of  pupils  and  gives  them  something  which  was  not 
to  be  got  in  any  other  way.  Consciousness  of  its 
real  import  is  still  so  weak  that  the  work  is  often 
done  in  a  half-hearted,  confused,  and  unrelated  way. 
The  reasons  assigned  to  justify  it  are  painfully 
inadequate  or  sometimes  even  positively  wrong. 

If  we  were  to  cross-examine  even  those  who  are 
most  favorably  disposed  to  the  introduction  of 
this  work  into  our  school  system,  we  should, 
I  imagine,  generally  find  the  main  reasons  to  be 
that  such  work  engages  the  full  spontaneous  inter 
est  and  attention  of  the  children.  It  keeps  them 
alert  and  active,  instead  of  passive  and  receptive  ; 
it  makes  them  more  useful,  more  capable,  and 


hence  more  inclined  to  be  helpful  at  home  ;  it 
prepares  them  to  some  extent  for  the  practical 
duties  of  later  life  —  the  girls  to  be  more  efficient 
house  managers,  if  not  actually  cooks  and  semp 
stresses  ;  the  boys  (were  our  educational  system 
only  adequately  rounded  out  into  trade  schools) 
for  their  future  vocations.  I  do  not  underesti 
mate  the  worth  of  these  reasons.  Of  those  indi 
cated  by  the  changed  attitude  of  the  children  I 
shall  indeed  have  something  to  say  in  my  next  talk, 
when  speaking  directly  of  the  relationship  of  the 
school  to  the  child.  But  the  point  of  view  is, 
upon  the  whole,  unnecessarily  narrow.  We  must 
conceive  of  work  in  wood  and  metal,  of  weaving, 
sewing,  and  cooking,  as  methods  of  life  not  as 
distinct  studies. 

We  must  conceive  of  them  in  their  social  signifi 
cance,  as  types  of  the  processes  by  which  society 
keeps  itself  going,  as  agencies  for  bringing  home 
to  the  child  some  of  the  primal  necessities  of  com 
munity  life,  and  as  ways  in  which  these  needs  have 
been  met  by  the  growing  insight  and  ingenuity  of 
man  ;  in  short,  as  instrumentalities  through  which 
the  school  itself  shall  be  made  a  genuine  form  of 
active  community  life,  instead  of  a  place  set  apart 
in  which  to  learn  lessons. 

A  society  is  a  number  of  people  held  together 
because  they  are  working  along  common  lines,  in 
a  common  spirit,  and  with  reference  to  common 


aims.  The  common  needs  and  aims  demand  a 
growing  interchange  of  thought  and  growing 
unity  of  sympathetic  feeling.  The  radical  reason 
that  the  present  school  cannot  organize  itself 
as  a  natural  social  unit  is  because  just  this  ele 
ment  of  common  and  productive  activity  is  ab 
sent.  Upon  the  playground,  in  game  and  sport, 
social  organization  takes  place  spontaneously  and 
inevitably.  There  :s  something  to  do,  some 
activity  to  be  carried  on,  requiring  natural  divi 
sions  of  labor,  selection  of  leaders  and  followers, 
mutual  cooperation  and  emulation.  In  the 
schoolroom  the  motive  and  the  cement  of  social 
organization  are  alike  wanting.  Upon  the  ethical 
side,  the  tragic  weakness  of  the  present  school  is 
that  it  endeavors  to  prepare  future  members  of 
the  social  order  in  a  medium  in  which  the  condi 
tions  of  the  social  spirit  are  eminently  wanting. 
The  difference  that  appears  when  occupations 
are  made  the  articulating  centers  of  school  life  is 
not  easy  to  describe  in  words ;  it  is  a  difference 
in  motive,  of  spirit  and  atmosphere.  As  one 
enters  a  busy  kitchen  in  which  a  group  of 
children  are  actively  engaged  in  the  preparation 
of  food,  the  psychological  difference,  the  change 
from  more  or  less  passive  and  inert  recipiency 
and  restraint  to  one  of  buoyant  outgoing  energy, 
is  so  obvious  as  fairly  to  strike  one  in  the  face. 
Indeed,  to  those  whose  image  of  the  school  is 


rigidly  set  the  change  is  sure  to  give  a  shock. 
But  the  change  in  the  social  attitude  is  equally 
marked.  The  mere  absorption  of  facts  and 
truths  is  so  exclusively  individual  an  affair  that 
it  tends  very  naturally  to  pass  into  selfishness. 
There  is  no  obvious  social  motive  for  the 
acquirement  of  mere  learning,  there  is  no  clear 
social  gain  in  success  thereat.  Indeed,  almost 
the  only  measure  for  success  is  a  competitive 
one,  in  the  bad  sense  of  that  term — a  compari 
son  of  results  in  the  recitation  or  in  the  exami 
nation  to  see  which  child  has  succeeded  in 
getting  ahead  of  others  in  storing  up,  in  accumu 
lating  the  maximum  of  information.  So  thor 
oughly  is  this  the  prevalent  atmosphere  that  for 
one  child  to  help  another  in  his  task  has  become 
a  school  crime.  Where  the  school  work  consists 
in  simply  learning  lessons,  mutual  assistance, 
instead  of  being  the  most  natural  form  of  coop 
eration  and  association,  becomes  a  clandestine 
effort  to  relieve  one's  neighbor  of  his  proper 
duties.  Where  active  work  is  going  on  all  this  is 
changed.  Helping  others,  instead  of  being  a 
form  of  charity  which  impoverishes  the  recipient, 
is  simply  an  aid  in  setting  free  the  powers  and 
furthering  the  impulse  of  the  one  helped.  A 
spirit  of  free  communication,  of  interchange  of 
ideas,  suggestions,  results,  both  successes  and 
failures  of  previous  experiences,  becomes  the 


dominating  note  of  the  recitation.  So  far  as 
emulation  enters  in,  it  is  in  the  comparison  of 
individuals,  not  with  regard  to  the  quantity  of 
information  personally  absorbed,  but  with  refer 
ence  to  the  quality  of  work  done  —  the  genuine 
community  standard  of  value.  In  an  informal 
but  all  the  more  pervasive  way,  the  school  life 
organizes  itself  on  a  social  basis. 

Within  this  organization  is  found  the  principle 
of  school  discipline  or  order.  Of  course,  order 
is  simply  a  thing  which  is  relative  to  an  end.  If 
you  have  the  end  in  view  of  forty  or  fifty 
children  learning  certain  set  lessons,  to  be 
recited  to  a  teacher,  your  discipline  must  be 
devoted  to  securing  that  result.  But  if  the  end 
in  view  is  the  development  of  a  spirit  of  social 
cooperation  and  community  life,  discipline  must 
grow  out  of  and  be  relative  to  this.  There  is 
little  order  of  one  sort  where  things  are  in 
process  of  construction  ;  there  is  a  certain 
disorder  in  any  busy  workshop  ;  there  is  not 
silence  ;  persons  are  not  engaged  in  maintaining 
certain  fixed  physical  postures;  their  arms  are  not 
folded  ;  they  are  not  holding  their  books  thus 
and  so.  They  are  doing  a  variety  of  things,  and 
\ .  there  is  the  confusion,  the  bustle,  that  results 
;  from  activity.  But  out  of  occupation,  out  of 
doing  things  that  are  to  produce  results,  and  out 
of  doing  these  in  a  social  and  cooperative  way, 


there  is  born  a  discipline  of  its  own  kind  and 
type.  Our  whole  conception  of  school  discipline 
changes  when  we  get  this  point  of  view.  In 
critical  moments  we  all  realize  that  the  only 
discipline  that  stands  by  us,  the  only  training  that 
becomes  intuition,  is  that  got  through  life  itself. 
That  we  learn  from  experience,  and  from  books 
or  the  sayings  of  others  only  as  they  are  related 
to  experience,  are  not  mere  phrases.  But  the 
school  has  been  so  set  apart,  so  isolated  from 
the  ordinary  conditions  and  motives  of  life,  that 
the  place  where  children  are  sent  for  discipline 
is  the  one  place  in  the  world  where  it  is  most 
difficult  to  get  experience  —  the  mother  of  all 
discipline  worth  the  name.  .  It  is  only  where  a 
narrow  and  fixed  image  of  traditional  school 
discipline  dominates,  that  one  is  in  any  danger  of 
overlooking  that  deeper  and  infinitely  wider  disci 
pline  that  comes  from  having  a  part  to  do  in  con 
structive  work,  in  contributing  to  a  result  which, 
social  in  spirit,  is  none  the  less  obvious  and  tangi 
ble  in  form  —  and  hence  in  a  form  with  reference 
to  which  responsibility  may  be  exacted  and  accu 
rate  judgment  passed. 

The  great  thing  to  keep  in  mind,  then,  regard 
ing  the  introduction  into  the  school  of  various 
forms  of  active  occupation,  is  that  through  them 
the  entire  spirit  of  the  school  is  renewed.  It  has 
a  chance  to  affiliate  itself  with  life,  to  become  the 


child's  habitat,  where  he  learns  through  directed 
living;  instead  of  being  only  a  place  to  learn 
lessons  having  an  abstract  and  remote  refer 
ence  to  some  possible  living  to  be  done  in  the 
future.  It  gets  a  chance  to  be  a  miniature  com 
munity,  an  embryonic  society.  This  is  the  funda 
mental  fact,  and  from  this  arise  continuous  and 
orderly  sources  of  instruction.  Under  the  industrial 
regime  described,  the  child,  after  all,  shared  in  the 
work,  not  for  the  sake  of  the  sharing,  but  for  the 
sake  of  the  product.  The  educational  results  se 
cured  were  real,  yet  incidental  and  dependent. 
But  in  the  school  the  typical  occupations  followed 
are  freed  from  all  economic  stress.  The  aim  is 
not  the  economic  value  of  the  products,  but  the 
development  of  social  power  and  insight.  It  is 
this  liberation  from  narrow  utilities,  this  openness 
to  the  possibilities  of  the  human  spirit  that  makes 
these  practical  activities  in  the  school  allies  of 
art  and  centers  of  science  and  history. 

The  unity  of  all  the  sciences  is  found  in  geog 
raphy.  The  significance  of  geography  is  that  it 
presents  the  earth  as  the  enduring  home  of  the 
occupations  of  man.  The  world  without  its  rela 
tionship  to  human  activity  is  less  than  a  world. 
Human  industry  and  achievement,  apart  from  their 
roots  in  the  earth,  are  not  even  a  sentiment,  hardly 
a  name.  The  earth  is  the  final  source  of  all  man's 
food.  It  is  his  continual  shelter  and  protection, 


the  raw  material  of  all  his  activities,  and  the 
home  to  whose  humanizing  and  idealizing  all  his 
achievement  returns.  It  is  the  great  field,  the 
great  mine,  the  great  source  of  the  energies  of 
heat,  light,  and  electricity  ;  the  great  scene  of 
ocean,  stream,  mountain,  and  plain,  of  which  all 
our  agriculture  and  mining  and  lumbering,  all  our 
manufacturing  and  distributing  agencies,  are  but 
the  partial  elements  and  factors.  It  is  through 
occupations  determined  by  this  environment  that 
mankind  has  made  its  historical  and  political 
progress.  It  is  through  these  occupations  that  the 
intellectual  and  emotional  interpretation  of  nature 
has  been  developed.  It  is  through  what  we  do 
in  and  with  the  world  that  we  read  its  meaning 
and  measure  its  value. 

In  educational  terms,  this  means  that  these 
occupations  in  the  school  shall  not  be  mere  prac 
tical  devices  or  modes  of  routine  employment, 
the  gaining  of  better  technical  skill  as  cooks, 
sempstresses,  or  carpenters,  but  active  centers  of 
scientific  insight  into  natural  materials  and  pro 
cesses,  points  of  departure  whence  children  shall 
be  led  out  into  a  realization  of  the  historic  de 
velopment  of  man.  The  actual  significance  of 
this  can  be  told  better  through  one  illustration 
taken  from  actual  school  work  than  by  general 

There  is  nothing  which  strikes  more  oddly  upon 


the  average  intelligent  visitor  than  to  see  boys  as 
well  as  girls  of  ten,  twelve,  and  thirteen  years  of 
age  engaged  in  sewing  and  weaving.  If  we  look 
at  this  from  the  standpoint  of  preparation  of  the 
boys  for  sewing  on  buttons  and  making  patches, 
we  get  a  narrow  and  utilitarian  conception  —  a 
basis  that  hardly  justifies  giving  prominence  to 
this  sort  of  work  in  the  school.  But  if  we  look 
at  it  from  another  side,  we  find  that  this  work 
gives  the  point  of  departure  from  which  the  child 
can  trace  and  follow  the  progress  of  mankind  in 
history,  getting  an  insight  also  into  the  materials 
used  and  the  mechanical  principles  involved.  In 
connection  with  these  occupations,  the  historic 
development  of  man  is  recapitulated.  For  exam 
ple,  the  children  are  first  given  the  raw  material  — 
the  flax,  the  cotton  plant,  the  wool  as  it  comes 
from  the  back  of  the  sheep  (if  we  could  take  them 
to  the  place  where  the  sheep  are  sheared,  so  much 
the  better).  Then  a  study  is  made  of  these  ma 
terials  from  the  standpoint  of  their  adaptation  to 
the  uses  to  which  they  may  be  put.  For  instance, 
a  comparison  of  the  cotton  fiber  with  wool  fiber  is 
made.  I  did  not  know  until  the  children  told 
me,  that  the  reason  for  the  late  development  of 
the  cotton  industry  as  compared  with  the  woolen 
is,  that  the  cotton  fiber  is  so  very  difficult  to  free 
by  hand  from  the  seeds.  The  children  in  one 
group  worked  thirty  minutes  freeing  cotton  fibers 


from  the  boll  and  seeds,  and  succeeded  in  get 
ting  out  less  than  one  ounce.  They  could 
easily  believe  that  one  person  could  only  gin 
one  pound  a  day  by  hand,  and  could  under 
stand  why  their  ancestors  wore  woolen  instead 
of  cotton  clothing.  Among  other  things  dis 
covered  as  affecting  their  relative  utilities,  was 
the  shortness  of  the  cotton  fiber  as  compared  with 
that  of  wool,  the  former  being  one-tenth  of  an 
inch  in  length,  while  that  of  the  latter  is  an  inch 
in  length  ;  also  that  the  fibers  of  cotton  are  smooth 
and  do  not  cling  together,  while  the  wool  has  a 
certain  roughness  which  makes  the  fibers  stick,  thus 
assisting  the  spinning.  The  children  worked  this 
out  for  themselves  with  the  actual  material,  aided 
by  questions  and  suggestions  from  the  teacher. 

They  then  followed  the  processes  necessary  for 
working  the  fibers  up  into  cloth.  They  re-invented 
the  first  frame  for  carding  the  wool  —  a  couple  of 
boards  with  sharp  pins  in  them  for  scratching  it 
out.  They  re-devised  the  simplest  process  for 
spinning  the  wool  —  a  pierced  stone  or  some 
other  weight  through  which  the  wool  is  passed, 
and  which  as  it  is  twirled  draws  out  the  fiber; 
next  the  top,  which  was  spun  on  the  floor,  while 
the  children  kept  the  wool  in  their  hands  until 
it  was  gradually  drawn  out  and  wound  upon 
it.  Then  the  children  are  introduced  to  the  in 
vention  next  in  historic  order,  working  it  out 


experimentally,  thus  seeing  its  necessity,  and 
tracing  its  effects,  not  only  upon  that  particular 
industry,  but  upon  modes  of  social  life  —  in  this 
way  passing  in  review  the  entire  process  up  to 
the  present  complete  loom,  and  all  that  goes  with 
the  application  of  science  in  the  use  of  our  pres 
ent  available  powers.  I  need  not  speak  of  the 
science  involved  in  this  —  the  study  of  the  fibers, 
of  geographical  features,  the  conditions  under 
which  raw  materials  are  grown,  the  great  centers 
of  manufacture  and  distribution,  the  physics 
involved  in  the  machinery  of  production  ;  nor, 
again,  of  the  historical  side  —  the  influence  which 
these  inventions  have  had  upon  humanity.  You 
can  concentrate  the  history  of  all  mankind  into 
the  evolution  of  the  flax,  cotton,  and  wool  fibers 
into  clothing.  I  do  not  mean  that  this  is  the 
only,  or  the  best,  center.  But  it  is  true  that 
certain  very  real  and  important  avenues  to  the 
consideration  of  the  history  of  the  race  are  thus 
opened  —  that  the  mind  is  introduced  to  much 
more  fundamental  and  controlling  influences  than 
usually  appear  in  the  political  and  chronological 
records  that  pass  for  history. 

Now,  what  is  true  of  this  one  instance  of  fibers 
used  in  fabrics  (and,  of  course,  I  have  only 
spoken  of  one  or  two  elementary  phases  of  that) 
is  true  in  its  measure  of  every  material  used  in 
every  occupation,  and  of  the  processes  employed. 


The  occupation  supplies  the  child  with  a  genuine 
motive;  it  gives  him  experience  at  first  hand; 
it  brings  him  into  contact  with  realities.  It  does 
all  this,  but  in  addition  it  is  liberalized  through 
out  by  translation  into  its  historic  values  and 
scientific  equivalencies.  With  the  growth  of  the 
child's  mind  in  power  and  knowledge  it  ceases  to 
be  a  pleasant  occupation  merely,  and  becomes 
more  and  more  a  medium,  an  instrument,  an 
organ  —  and  is  thereby  transformed. 

This,  in  turn,  has  its  bearing  upon  the  teaching 
of  science.  Under  present  conditions,  all  activity, 
to  be  successful,  has  to  be  directed  somewhere 
and  somehow  by  the  scientific  expert  —  it  is  a 
case  of  applied  science.  This  connection  should 
determine  its  place  in  education.  It  is  not  only 
that  the  occupations,  the  so-called  manual  or 
industrial  work  in  the  school,  give  the  oppor 
tunity  for  the  introduction  of  science  which 
illuminates  them,  which  makes  them  material, 
freighted  with  meaning,  instead  of  being  mere 
devices  of  hand  and  eye ;  but  that  the  scientific 
insight  thus  gained  becomes  an  indispensable 
instrument  of  free  and  active  participation  in 
modern  social  life.  Plato  somewhere  speaks  of 
the  slave  as  one  who  in  his  actions  does  not 
express  his  own  ideas,  but  those  of  some  other 
man.  It  is  our  social  problem  now,  even  more 
urgent  than  in  the  time  of  Plato,  that  method, 


purpose,  understanding,  shall  exist  in  the  con 
sciousness  of  the  one  who  does  the  work,  that 
his  activity  shall  have  meaning  to  himself. 

When  occupations  in  the  school  are  conceived 
in  this  broad  and  generous  way,  I  can  only  stand 
lost  in  wonder  at  the  objections  so  often  heard, 
that  such  occupations  are  out  of  place  in  the 
school  because  they  are  materialistic,  utilitarian, 
or  even  menial  in  their  tendency.  It  sometimes 
seems  to  me  that  those  who  make  these  objections 
must  live  in  quite  another  world.  The  world  in 
which  most  of  us  live  is  a  world  in  which  every 
one  has  a  calling  and  occupation,  something  to 
do.  Some  are  managers  and  others  are  sub 
ordinates.  But  the  great  thing  for  one  as  for 
the  other  is  that  each  shall  have  had  the  educa 
tion  which  enables  him  to  see  within  his  daily  work 
all  there  is  in  it  of  large  and  human  significance. 
How  many  of  the  employed  are  today  mere 
appendages  to  the  machines  which  they  operate  ! 
This  may  be  due  in  part  to  the  machine  itself,  or 
to  the  regime  which  lays  so  much  stress  upon  the 
products  of  the  machine  ;  but  it  is  certainly  due 
in  large  part  to  the  fact  that  the  worker  has  had 
no  opportunity  to  develop  his  imagination  and  his 
sympathetic  insight  as  to  the  social  and  scientific 
values  found  in  his  work.  At  present,  the  impulses 
which  lie  at  the  basis  of  the  industrial  system  are 
either  practically  neglected  or  positively  distorted 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY          39 

during  the  school  period.  Until  the  instincts  of 
construction  and  production  are  systematically 
laid  hold  of  in  the  years  of  childhood  and  youth, 
until  they  are  trained  in  social  directions,  enriched 
by  historical  interpretation,  controlled  and  illu 
minated  by  scientific  methods,  we  certainly  are  in 
no  position  even  to  locate  the  source  of  our  eco 
nomic  evils,  much  less  to  deal  with  them  effectively. 
If  we  go  back  a  few  centuries,  we  find  a  prac 
tical  monopoly  of  learning.  .  The  term  possession 
of  learning  was,  indeed,  a  happy  one.  Learning 
was  a  class  matter.  This  was  a  necessary  result 
of  social  conditions.  There  were  not  in  existence 
any  means  by  which  the  multitude  could  possibly 
have  access  to  intellectual  resources.  These  were 
stored  up  and  hidden  away  in  manuscripts.  Of 
these  there  were  at  best  only  a  few,  and  it  re 
quired  long  and  toilsome  preparation  to  be  able 
to  do  anything  with  them.  A  high-priesthood  of 
learning,  which  guarded  the  treasury  of  truth  and 
which  doled  it  out  to  the  masses  under  severe  re 
strictions,  was  the  inevitable  expression  of  these 
conditions.  But,  as  a  direct  result  of  the  indus 
trial  revolution  of  which  we  have  been  speaking, 
this  has  been  changed.  Printing  was  invented  ; 
it  was  made  commercial.  Books,  magazines, 
papers  were  multiplied  and  cheapened.  As  a 
result  of  the  locomotive  and  telegraph,  fre 
quent,  rapid,  and  cheap  intercommunication  by 


mails  and  electricity  was  called  into  being. 
Travel  has  been  rendered  easy  ;  freedom  of  move 
ment,  with  its  accompanying  exchange  of  ideas, 
indefinitely  facilitated.  The  result  has  been  an 
intellectual  revolution.  Learning  has  been  put 
into  circulation.  While  there  still  is,  and  prob 
ably  always  will  be,  a  particular  class  having  the 
special  business  of  inquiry  in  hand,  a  distinctively 
learned  class  is  henceforth  out  of  the  question. 
It  is  an  anachronism.  Knowledge  is  no  longer  an 
immobile  solid  ;  it  has  been  liquefied.  It  is  active 
ly  moving  in  all  the  currents  of  society  itself. 

It  is  easy  to  see  that  this  revolution,  as  regards 
the  materials  of  knowledge,  carries  with  it  a 
marked  change  in  the  attitude  of  the  individual. 
Stimuli  of  an  intellectual  sort  pour  in  upon  us  in 
all  kinds  of  ways.  The  merely  intellectual  life, 
the  life  of  scholarship  and  of  learning,  thus  gets  a 
very  altered  value.  Academic  and  scholastic, 
instead  of  being  titles  of  honor,  are  becoming 
terms  of  reproach. 

But  all  this  means  a  necessary  change  in  the 
attitude  of  the  school,  one  of  which  we  are  as 
yet  far  from  realizing  the  full  force.  Our  school 
methods,  and  to  a  very  considerable  extent  our 
curriculum,  are  inherited  from  the  period  when 
learning  and  command  of  certain  symbols,  afford 
ing  as  they  did  the  only  access  to  learning,  were 
all-important.  The  ideals  of  this  period  are  still 


largely  in  control,  even  where  the  outward  meth 
ods  and  studies  have  been  changed.  We  some 
times  hear  the  introduction  of  manual  training, 
art  and  science  into  the  elementary,  and  even  the 
secondary  schools,  deprecated  on  the  ground  that 
they  tend  toward  the  production  of  specialists  — 
that  they  detract  from  our  present  scheme  of 
generous,  liberal  culture.  The  point  of  this  ob 
jection  would  be  ludicrous  if  it  were  not  often  so 
effective  as  to  make  it  tragic.  It  is  our  present 
education  which  is  highly  specialized,  one-sided 
and  narrow.  It  is  an  education  dominated  almost 
entirely  by  the  mediaeval  conception  of  learning. 
It  is  something  which  appeals  for  the  most  part 
simply  to  the  intellectual  aspect  of  our  natures, 
our  desire  to  learn,  to  accumulate  information, 
and  to  get  control  of  the  symbols  of  learning ; 
not  to  our  impulses  and  tendencies  to  make,  to 
do,  to  create,  to  produce,  whether  in  the  form 
of  utility  or  of  art.  The  very  fact  that  manual 
training,  art  and  science  are  objected  to  as  tech 
nical,  as  tending  toward  mere  specialism,  is  of 
itself  as  good  testimony  as  could  be  offered  to 
the  specialized  aim  which  controls  current  edu 
cation.  Unless  education  had  been  virtually  iden 
tified  with  the  exclusively  intellectual  pursuits, 
with  learning  as  such,  all  these  materials  and 
methods  would  be  welcome,  would  be  greeted 
with  the  utmost  hospitality. 


While  training  for  the  profession  of  learning 
is  regarded  as  the  type  of  culture,  as  a  liberal 
education,  that  of  a  mechanic,  a  musician,  a 
lawyer,  a  doctor,  a  farmer,  a  merchant,  or  a 
railroad  manager  is  regarded  as  purely  technical 
and  professional.  The  result  is  that  which  we 
see  about  us  everywhere  —  the  division  into  "  cul 
tured  "  people  and  "  workers,"  the  separation  of 
theory  and  practice.  Hardly  one  per  cent,  of 
the  entire  school  population  ever  attains  to  what 
we  call  higher  education ;  only  five  per  cent,  to 
the  grade  of  our  high  school ;  while  much  more 
than  half  leave  on  or  before  the  completion  of 
the  fifth  year  of  the  elementary  grade.  The  sim 
ple  facts  of  the  case  are  that  in  the  great  major 
ity  of  human  beings  the  distinctively  intellectual 
interest  is  not  dominant.  They  have  the  so-called 
practical  impulse  and  disposition.  In  many  of  those 
in  whom  by  nature  intellectual  interest  is  strong, 
social  conditions  prevent  its  adequate  realization. 
Consequently  by  far  the  larger  number  of  pupils 
leave  school  as  soon  as  they  have  acquired  the 
rudiments  of  learning,  as  soon  as  they  have  enough 
of  the  symbols  of  reading,  writing,  and  calcula 
ting  to  be  of  practical  use  to  them  in  getting  a 
living.  While  our  educational  leaders  are  talk 
ing  of  culture,  the  development  of  personality, 
etc.,  as  the  end  and  aim  of  education,  the  great 
majority  of  those  who  pass  under  the  tuition  of 


the  school  regard  it  only  as  a  narrowly  practical 
tool  with  which  to  get  bread  and  butter  enough 
to  eke  out  a  restricted  life.  If  we  were  to  con 
ceive  our  educational  end  and  aim  in  a  less 
exclusive  way,  if  we  were  to  introduce  into  edu 
cational  processes  the  activities  which  appeal  to 
those  whose  dominant  interest  is  to  do  and  to 
make,  we  should  find  the  hold  of  the  school  upon 
its  members  to  be  more  vital,  more  prolonged, 
containing  more  of  culture. 

But  why  should  I  make  this  labored  presenta 
tion  ?  The  obvious  fact  is  that  our  social  life  has 
undergone  a  thorough  and  radical  change.  If 
our  education  is  to  have  any  meaning  for  life, 
it  must  pass  through  an  equally  complete  trans 
formation.  This  transformation  is  not  something 
to  appear  suddenly,  to  be  executed  in  a  day  by 
conscious  purpose.  It  is  already  in  progress. 
Those  modifications  of  our  school  system  which 
often  appear  (even  to  those  most  actively  con 
cerned  with  them,  to  say  nothing  of  their  specta 
tors)  to  be  mere  changes  of  detail,  mere  improve 
ment  within  the  school  mechanism,  are  in  reality 
signs  and  evidences  of  evolution.  The  intro 
duction  of  active  occupations,  of  nature  study, 
of  elementary  science,  of  art,  of  history  ;  the 
relegation  of  the  merely  symbolic  and  formal  to 
a  secondary  position ;  the  change  in  the  moral 
school  atmosphere,  in  the  relation  of  pupils  and 


teachers — of  discipline ;  the  introduction  of  more 
active,  expressive,  and  self-directing  factors  —  all 
these  are  not  mere  accidents,  they  are  necessi 
ties  of  the  larger  social  evolution.  It  remains 
but  to  organize  all  these  factors,  to  appreciate 
them  in  their  fullness  of  meaning,  and  to  put  the 
ideas  and  ideals  involved  into  complete,  uncom 
promising  possession  of  our  school  system.  To 
do  this  means  to  make  each  one  of  our  schools 
an  embryonic  community  life,  active  with  types 
of  occupations  that  reflect  the  life  of  the  larger 
society,  and  permeated  throughout  with  the 
spirit  of  art,  history,  and  science.  When  the 
school  introduces  and  trains  each  child  of  society 
into  membership  within  such  a  little  community, 
saturating  him  with  the  spirit  of  service,  and  pro 
viding  him  with  the  instruments  of  effective  self- 
direction,  we  shall  have  the  deepest  and  best 
guarantee  of  a  larger  society  which  is  worthy, 
lovely,  and  harmonious. 




Last  week  I  tried  to  put  before  you  the  rela 
tionship  between  the  school  and  the  larger  life 
of  the  community,  and  the  necessity  for  certain 
changes  in  the  methods  and  materials  of  school 
work,  that  it  might  be  better  adapted  to  present 
social  needs. 

Today  I  wish  to  look  at  the  matter  from  the 
other  side,  and  consider  the  relationship  of  the 
school  to  the  life  and  development  of  the  chil 
dren  in  the  school.  As  it  is  difficult  to  connect 
general  principles  with  such  thoroughly  concrete 
things  as  little  children,  I  have  taken  the  liberty 
of  introducing  a  good  deal  of  illustrative  matter 
from  the  work  of  the  University  Elementary 
School,  that  in  some  measure  you  may  appreciate 
the  way  in  which  the  ideas  presented  work  them 
selves  out  in  actual  practice. 

Some  few  years  ago  I  was  looking  about  the 
school  supply  stores  in  the  city,  trying  to  find 
desks  and  chairs  which  seemed  thoroughly  suit 
able  from  all  points  of  view  —  artistic,  hygienic, 
and  educational  —  to  the  needs  of  the  children. 
We  had  a  good  deal  of  difficulty  in  finding  what 


we  needed,  and  finally  one  dealer,  more  intelligent 
than  the  rest,  made  this  remark  :  "  I  am  afraid 
we  have  not  what  you  want.  You  want  some 
thing  at  which  the  children  may  work  ;  these  are 
all  for  listening."  That  tells  the  story  of  the  tra- 
ditional  education.  Just  as  the  biologist  can  take 
a  bone  or  two  and  reconstruct  the  whole  animal, 
so,  if  we  put  before  the  mind's  eye  the  ordinary 
schoolroom,  with  its  rows  of  ugly  desks  placed  in 
geometrical  order,  crowded  together  so  that  there 
shall  be  as  little  moving  room  as  possible,  desks 
almost  all  of  the  same  size,  with  just  space  enough 
to  hold  books,  pencils  and  paper,  and  add  a  table, 
some  chairs,  the  bare  walls,  and  possibly  a  few  pic 
tures,  we  can  reconstruct  the  only  educational 
activity  that  can  possibly  go  on  in  such  a  place. 
It  is  all  made  "  for  listening"  —  for  simply  study 
ing  lessons  out  of  a  book  is  only  another  kind  of 
listening;  it  marks  the  dependency  of  one  mind 
upon  another.  The  attitude  of  listening  means, 
comparatively  speaking,  passivity,  absorption ; 
that  there  are  certain  ready-made  materials  which 
are  there,  which  have  been  prepared  by  the  school 
superintendent,  the  board,  the  teacher,  and  of 
which  the  child  is  to  take  in  as  much  as  possible 
in  the  least  possible  time. 

There  is  very  little  place  in  the  traditional 
schoolroom  for  the  child  to  work.  The  workshop, 
the  laboratory,  the  materials,  the  tools  with  which 


the  child  may  construct,  create,  and  actively  in 
quire,  and  even  the  requisite  space,  have  been  for 
the  most  part  lacking.  The  things  that  have  to 
do  with  these  processes  have  not  even  a  definitely 
recognized  place  in  education.  They  are  what  the 
educational  authorities  who  write  editorials  in  the 
daily  papers  generally  term  "  fads  "  and  "frills." 
A  lady  told  me  yesterday  that  she  had  been 
visiting  different  schools  trying  to  find  one  where 
activity  on  the  part  of  the  children  preceded 
the  giving  of  information  on  the  part  of  the 
teacher,  or  where  the  children  had  some  motive 
for  demanding  the  information.  She  visited, 
she  said,  twenty-four  different  schools  before  she 
found  her  first  instance.  I  may  add  that  that  was 
not  in  this  city. 

Another  thing  that  is  suggested  by  these  school 
rooms,  with  their  set  desks,  is  that  everything  is 
arranged  for  handling  as  large  numbers  of  chil 
dren  as  possible;  for  dealing  with  children  en  masse, 
as  an  aggregate  of  units  ;  involving,  again,  that 
they  be  treated  passively.  The  moment  children 
act  they  individualize  themselves  ;  they  cease  to 
be  a  mass,  and  become  the  intensely  distinctive 
beings  that  we  are  acquainted  with  out  of  school, 
in  the  home,  the  family,  on  the  playground,  and 
in  the  neighborhood. 

On  the  same  basis  is  explicable  the  uniformity 
of  method  and  curriculum.  If  everything  is  on 


a  "listening"  basis,  you  can  have  uniformity  of 
material  and  method.  The  ear,  and  the  book 
which  reflects  the  ear,  constitute  the  medium 
which  is  alike  for  all.  There  is  next  to  no  oppor 
tunity  for  adjustment  to  varying  capacities  and 
demands.  There  is  a  certain  amount — a  fixed 
quantity  —  of  ready-made  results  and  accomplish 
ments  to  be  acquired  by  all  children  alike  in  a 
given  time.  It  is  in  response  to  this  demand 
that  the  curriculum  has  been  developed  from  the 
elementary  school  up  through  the  college.  There 
is  just  so  much  desirable  knowledge,  and  there 
are  just  so  many  needed  technical  accomplish 
ments  in  the  world.  Then  comes  the  mathe 
matical  problem  of  dividing  this  by  the  six, 
twelve,  or  sixteen  years  of  school  life.  Now 
give  the  children  every  year  just  the  proportion 
ate  fraction  of  the  total,  and  by  the  time  they  have 
finished  they  will  have  mastered  the  whole.  By 
covering  so  much  ground  during  this  hour  or  day 
or  week  or  year,  everything  comes  out  with  per 
fect  evenness  at  the  end  —  provided  the  children 
have  not  forgotten  what  they  have  previously 
learned.  The  outcome  of  all  this  is  Matthew 
Arnold's  report  of  the  statement,  proudly  made 
to  him  by  an  educational  authority  in  France,  that 
so  many  thousands  of  children  were  studying  at  a 
given  hour,  say  eleven  o'clock,  just  such  a  lesson 
in  geography  ;  and  in  one  of  our  own  western 


cities  this  proud  boast  used  to  be  repeated  to 
successive  visitors  by  its  superintendent. 

I  may  have  exaggerated  somewhat  in  order  to 
make  plain  the  typical  points  of  the  old  education  : 
its  passivity  of  attitude,  its  mechanical  massing  of 
children,  its  uniformity  of  curriculum  and  method. 
It  may  be  summed  up  by  stating  that  the  center  of 
gravity  is  outside  the  child.  It  is  in  the  teacher, 
the  text-book,  anywhere  and  everywhere  you 
please  except  in  the  immediate  instincts  and  ac 
tivities  of  the  child  himself.  On  that  basis  there 
is  not  much  to  be  said  about  the  life  of  the  child. 
A  good  deal  might  be  said  about  the  studying  of 
the  child,  but  the  school  is  not  the  place  where 
the  child  lives.  Now  the  change  which  is  com 
ing  into  our  education  is  the  shifting  of  the  cen 
ter  of  gravity.  It  is  a  change,  a  revolution,  not 
unlike  that  introduced  by  Copernicus  when  the 
astronomical  center  shifted  from  the  earth  to 
the  sun.  In  this  case  the  child  becomes  the  sun 
about  which  the  appliances  of  education  revolve; 
he  is  the  center  about  which  they  are  organized. 

If  we  take  an  example  from  an  ideal  home, 
where  the  parent  is  intelligent  enough  to  recognize 
what  is  best  for  the  child,  and  is  able  to  supply 
what  is  needed,  we  find  the  child  learning 
through  the  social  converse  and  constitution  of 
the  family.  There  are  certain  points  of  interest 
and  value  to  him  in  the  conversation  carried  on : 


statements  are  made,  inquiries  arise,  topics  are 
discussed,  and  the  child  continually  learns.  He 
states  his  experiences,  his  misconceptions  are  cor 
rected.  Again  the  child  participates  in  the  house 
hold  occupations,  and  thereby  gets  habits  of 
industry,  order,  and  regard  for  the  rights  and 
ideas  of  others,  and  the  fundamental  habit  of  sub 
ordinating  his  activities  to  the  general  interest  of 
the  household.  Participation  in  these  household 
tasks  becomes  an  opportunity  for  gaining  knowl 
edge.  The  ideal  home  would  naturally  have  a 
workshop  where  the  child  could  work  out  his 
constructive  instincts.  It  would  have  a  min 
iature  laboratory  in  which  his  inquiries  could 
be  directed.  The  life  of  the  child  would  extend 
out  of  doors  to  the  garden,  surrounding  fields, 
and  forests.  He  would  have  his  excursions,  his 
walks  and  talks,  in  which  the  larger  world  out  of 
doors  would  open  to  him. 

Now,  if  we  organize  and  generalize  all  of  this, 
we  have  the  ideal  school.  There  is  no  mystery 
about  it,  no  wonderful  discovery  of  pedagogy  or 
educational  theory.  It  is  simply  a  question  of  do 
ing  systematically  and  in  a  large,  intelligent,  and 
competent  way  what  for  various  reasons  can  be 
done  in  most  households  only  in  a  comparatively 
meager  and  haphazard  manner.  In  the  first  place, 
the  ideal  home  has  to  be  enlarged.  The  child 
must  be  brought  into  contact  with  more  grown 


people  and  with  more  children  in  order  that  there 
may  be  the  freest  and  richest  social  life.  More 
over,  the  occupations  and  relationships  of  the 
home  environment  are  not  specially  selected  for 
the  growth  of  the  child  ;  the  main  object  is  some 
thing  else,  and  what  the  child  can  get  out  of  them 
is  incidental.  Hence  the  need  of  a  school.  In 
this  school  the  life  of  the  child  becomes  the  all- 
controlling  aim.  All  the  media  necessary  to  fur 
ther  the  growth  of  the  child  center  there.  Learn 
ing? — certainly,  but  living  primarily,  and  learning 
through  and  in  relation  to  this  living.  When  we 
take  the  life  of  the  child  centered  and  organized 
in  this  way,  we  do  not  find  that  he  is  first  of  all  a 
listening  being;  quite  the  contrary. 

The  statement  so  frequently  made  that  educa 
tion  means  "  drawing  out  "  is  excellent,  if  we  mean 
simply  to  contrast  it  with  the  process  of  pouring 
in.  But,  after  all,  it  is  difficult  to  connect  the  idea 
of  drawing  out  with  the  ordinary  doings  of  the 
child  of  three,  four,  seven,  or  eight  years  of  age. 
He  is  already  running  over,  spilling  over,  with 
activities  of  all  kinds.  He  is  not  a  purely  latent 
being  whom  the  adult  has  to  approach  with  great 
caution  and  skill  in  order  gradually  to  draw  out 
some  hidden  germ  of  activity.  The  child  is  already 
intensely  active,  and  the  question  of  education  is 
the  question  of  taking  hold  of  his  activities,  of 
giving  them  direction.  Through  direction,  through 


organized  use,  they  tend  toward  valuable  results, 
instead  of  scattering  or  being  left  to  merely 
impulsive  expression. 

If  we  keep  this  before  us,  the  difficulty  I  find 
uppermost  in  the  minds  of  many  people  regard 
ing  what  is  termed  the  new  education  is  not  so 
much  solved  as  dissolved  ;  it  disappears.  A  ques 
tion  often  asked  is  :  if  you  begin  with  the  child's 
ideas,  impulses  and  interests,  all  so  crude,  so 
random  and  scattering,  so  little  refined  or  spiritu 
alized,  how  is  he  going  to  get  the  necessary  dis 
cipline,  culture  and  information  ?  If  there  were 
no  way  open  to  us  except  to  excite  and  indulge 
these  impulses  of  the  child,  the  question  might 
well  be  asked.  We  should  either  have  to  ignore 
and  repress  the  activities,  or  else  to  humor  them. 
But  if  we  have  organization  of  equipment  and  of 
materials,  there  is  another  path  open  to  us.  We 
can  direct  the  child's  activities,  giving  them  exer 
cise  along  certain  lines,  and  ean  thus  lead  up  to 
the  goal  which  logically  stands  at  the  end  of 
the  paths  followed. 

"  If  wishes  were  horses,  beggars  would  ride." 
Since  they  are  not,  since  really  to  satisfy  an 
impulse  or  interest  means  to  work  it  out,  and  work 
ing  it  out  involves  running  up  against  obstacles, 
becoming  acquainted  with  materials,  exercising 
ingenuity,  patience,  persistence,  alertness,  it  of 
necessity  involves  discipline — ordering  of  power 


—  and  supplies  knowledge.  Take  the  example 
of  the  little  child  who  wants  to  make  a  box.  If 
he  stops  short  with  the  imagination  or  wish,  he 
certainly  will  not  get  discipline.  But  when  he 
attempts  to  realize  his  impulse,  it  is  a  question  of 
making  his  idea  definite,  making  it  into  a  plan,  of 
taking  the  right  kind  of  wood,  measuring  the 
parts  needed,  giving  them  the  necessary  propor 
tions,  etc.  There  is  involved  the  preparation  of 
materials,  the  sawing,  planing,  the  sand-papering, 
making  all  the  edges  and  corners  to  fit.  Knowl 
edge  of  tools  and  processes  is  inevitable.  If  the 
child  realizes  his  instinct  and  makes  the  box,  there 
is  plenty  of  opportunity  to  gain  discipline  and 
perseverance,  to  exercise  effort  in  overcoming 
obstacles,  and  to  attain  as  well  a  great  deal  of 

So  undoubtedly  the  little  child  who  thinks  he 
would  like  to  cook  has  little  idea  of  what  it 
means  or  costs,  or  what  it  requires.  It  is  simply 
a  desire  to  "  mess  around,"  perhaps  to  imitate 
the  activities  of  older  people.  And  it  is  doubt 
less  possible  to  let  ourselves  down  to  that  level 
and  simply  humor  that  interest.  But  here,  too, 
if  the  impulse  is  exercised,  utilized,  it  runs  up 
against  the  actual  world  of  hard  conditions,  to 
which  it  must  accommodate  itself ;  and  there 
again  come  in  the  factors  of  discipline  and  knowl 
edge.  One  of  the  children  became  impatient 


recently,  at  having  to  work  things  out  by  a  long 
method  of  experimentation,  and  said:  "Why  do 
we  bother  with  this  ?  Let's  follow  a  recipe  in 
a  cook-book."  The  teacher  asked  the  children 
where  the  recipe  came  from,  and  the  conversation 
showed  that  if  they  simply  followed  this  they 
would  not  understand  the  reasons  for  what  they 
were  doing.  They  were  then  quite  willing  to  go 
on  with  the  experimental  work.  To  follow  that 
work  will,  indeed,  give  an  illustration  of  just  the 
point  in  question.  Their  occupation  happened 
that  day  to  be  the  cooking  of  eggs,  as  making  a 
transition  from  the  cooking  of  vegetables  to  that 
of  meats.  In  order  to  get  a  basis  of  comparison 
they  first  summarized  the  constituent  food  elements 
in  the  vegetables  and  made  a  preliminary  compari 
son  with  those  found  in  meat.  Thus  they  found 
that  the  woody  fiber  or  cellulose  in  vegetables  cor 
responded  to  the  connective  tissue  in  meat,  giving 
the  element  of  form  and  structure.  They  found 
that  starch  and  starchy  products  were  character 
istic  of  the  vegetables,  that  mineral  salts  were 
found  in  both  alike,  and  that  there  was  fat  in 
both  —  a  small  quantity  in  vegetable  food  and  a 
large  amount  in  animal.  They  were  prepared 
then  to  take  up  the  study  of  albumen  as  the 
characteristic  feature  of  animal  food,  correspond 
ing  to  starch  in  the  vegetables,  and  were  ready 
to  consider  the  conditions  requisite  for  the  proper 


treatment  of  albumen — the  eggs  serving  as  the 
material  of  experiment. 

They  experimented  first  by  taking  water  at 
various  temperatures,  finding  out  when  it  was 
scalding,  simmering,  and  boiling  hot,  and  ascer 
tained  the  effect  of  the  various  degrees  of  tem 
perature  on  the  white  of  the  egg.  That  worked 
out,  they  were  prepared,  not  simply  to  cook 
eggs,  but  to  understand  the  principle  involved 
in  the  cooking  of  eggs.  I  do  not  wish  to  lose 
sight  of  the  universal  in  the  particular  incident. 
For  the  child  simply  to  desire  to  cook  an  egg, 
and  accordingly  drop  it  in  water  for  three  min 
utes,  and  take  it  out  when  he  is  told,  is  not  edu 
cative.  But  for  the  child  to  realize  his  own 
impulse  by  recognizing  the  facts,  materials  and 
conditions  involved,  and  then  to  regulate  his 
impulse  through  that  recognition,  is  educative. 
This  is  the  difference,  upon  which  I  wish  to  insist, 
between  exciting  or  indulging  an  interest  and 
realizing  it  through  its  direction. 

Another  instinct  of  the  child  is  the  use  of 
pencil  and  paper.  All  children  like  to  express 
themselves  through  the  medium  of  form  and 
color.  If  you  simply  indulge  this  interest  by 
letting  the  child  go  on  indefinitely,  there  is  no 
growth  that  is  more  than  accidental.  But  let  the 
child  first  express  his  impulse,  and  then  through 
criticism,  question,  and  suggestion  bring  him  to 


consciousness  of  what  he  has  done,  and  what  he 
needs  to  do,  and  the  result  is  quite  different. 
Here,  for  example,  is  the  work  of  a  seven-year-old 
child.  It  is  not  average  work,  it  is  the  best  work 
done  among  the  little  children,  but  it  illustrates 
the  particular  principle  of  which  I  have  been 
speaking.  They  had  been  talking  about  the 
primitive  conditions  of  social  life  when  people 
lived  in  caves.  The  child's  idea  of  that  found 
expression  in  this  way  :  the  cave  is  neatly  set  up 
on  the  hill  side  in  an  impossible  way.  You  see 
the  conventional  tree  of  childhood ;  a  vertical 
line  with  horizontal  branches  on  each  side.  If 
the  child  had  been  allowed  to  go  on  repeating 
this  sort  of  thing  day  by  day,  he  would  be  indulg 
ing  his  instinct  rather  than  exercising  it.  But 
the  child  was  now  asked  to  look  closely  at  trees, 
to  compare  those  seen  with  the  one  drawn,  to 
examine  more  closely  and  consciously  into  the 
conditions  of  his  work.  Then  he  drew  trees  from 

Finally  he  drew  again  from  combined  observa 
tion,  memory,  and  imagination.  He  made  again 
a  free  illustration,  expressing  his  own  imaginative 
thought,  but  controlled  by  detailed  study  of 
actual  trees.  The  result  was  a  scene  representing 
a  bit  of  forest ;  so  far  as  it  goes,  it  seems  to  me 
to  have  as  much  poetic  feeling  as  the  work  of  an 
adult,  while  at  the  same  time  its  trees  are,  in 


their  proportions  possible  ones,  not  mere  sym 

If  we  roughly  classify  the  impulses  which  are 
available  in  the  school,  we  may  group  them 
under  four  heads.  There  is  the  social  instinct  of 
the  children  as  shown  in  conversation,  personal 
intercourse,  and  communication.  We  all  know 
how  self-centered  the  little  child  is  at  the  age  of 
four  or  five.  If  any  new  subject  is  brought  up, 
if  he  says  anything  at  all,  it  is:  "I  have  seen 
that;"  or,  "My  papa  or  mamma  told  me  about 
that."  His  horizon  is  not  large ;  an  experience 
must  come  immediately  home  to  him,  if  he  is  to 
be  sufficiently  interested  to  relate  it  to  others 
and  seek  theirs  in  return.  And  yet  the  egoistic 
and  limited  interest  of  little  children  is  in  this 
manner  capable  of  infinite  expansion.  The  lan 
guage  instinct  is  the  simplest  form  of  the  social 
expression  of  the  child.  Hence  it  is  a  great, 
perhaps  the  greatest  of  all  educational  resources. 

Then  there  is  the  instinct  of  making — the 
constructive  impulse.  The  child's  impulse  to 
do  finds  expression  first  in  play,  in  movement, 
gesture,  and  make-believe,  becomes  more  definite, 
and  seeks  outlet  in  shaping  materials  into  tangible 
forms  and  permanent  embodiment.  The  child  has 
not  much  instinct  for  abstract  inquiry.  The 
instinct  of  investigation  seems  to  grow  out  of  the 
combination  of  the  constructive  impulse  with  the 


conversational.  There  is  no  distinction  between 
experimental  science  for  little  children  and  the 
work  done  in  the  carpenter  shop.  Such  work  as 
they  can  do  in  physics  or  chemistry  is  not  for 
the  purpose  of  making  technical  generalizations 
or  even  arriving  at  abstract  truths.  Children 
simply  like  to  do  things,  and  watch  to  see  what 
will  happen.  But  this  can  be  taken  advantage 
of,  can  be  directed  into  ways  where  it  gives 
results  of  value,  as  well  as  be  allowed  to  go  on 
at  random. 

And  so  the  expressive  impulse  of  the  children, 
the  art  instinct,  grows  also  out  of  the  communica 
ting  and  constructive  instincts.  It  is  their  refine 
ment  and  full  manifestation.  Make  the  construc 
tion  adequate,  make  it  full,  free,  and  flexible,  give 
it  a  social  motive,  something  to  tell,  and  you  have 
a  work  of  art.  Take  one  illustration  of  this  in  con 
nection  with  the  textile  work  —  sewing  and  weav 
ing.  The  children  made  a  primitive  loom  in  the 
shop  ;  here  the  constructive  instinct  was  appealed 
to.  Then  they  wished  to  do  something  with  this 
loom,  to  make  something.  It  was  the  type  of 
the  Indian  loom,  and  they  were  shown  blankets 
woven  by  the  Indians.  Each  child  made  a 
design  kindred  in  idea  to  those  of  the  Navajo 
blankets,  and  the  one  which  seemed  best  adapted 
to  the  work  in  hand  was  selected.  The  technical 
resources  were  limited,  but  the  coloring  and  form 


were  worked  out  by  the  children.  The  example 
shown  was  made  by  the  twelve-year-old  children. 
Examination  shows  that  it  took  patience,  thor 
oughness,  and  perseverance  to  do  the  work.  It 
involved  not  merely  discipline  and  information  of 
both  a  historical  sort  and  the  elements  of  tech 
nical  design,  but  also  something  of  the  spirit  of 
art  in  adequately  conveying  an  idea. 

One  more  instance  of  the  connection  of  the 
art  side  with  the  constructive  side.  The  children 
had  been  studying  primitive  spinning  and  card 
ing,  when  one  of  them,  twelve  years  of  age,  made 
a  picture  of  one  of  the  older  children  spinning. 
Here  is  another  piece  of  work  which  is  not  quite 
average ;  it  is  better  than  the  average.  It  is  an 
illustration  of  two  hands  and  the  drawing  out  of 
the  wool  to  get  it  ready  for  spinning.  This  was 
done  by  a  child  eleven  years  of  age.  But,  upon 
the  whole,  with  the  younger  children  especially, 
the  art  impulse  is  connected  mainly  with  the 
social  instinct  —  the  desire  to  tell,  to  represent. 

Now,  keeping  in  mind  these  fourfold  interests 
—  the  interest  in  conversation  or  communication  ; 
in  inquiry,  or  finding  out  things  ;  in  making 
things,  or  construction  ;  and  in  artistic  expres 
sion —  we  may  say  they  are  the  natural  resources, 
the  uninvested  capital,  upon  the  exercise  of  which 
depends  the  active  growth  of  the  child.  I  wish 
to  give  one  or  two  illustrations,  the  first  from  the 


work  of  children  seven  years  of  age.  It  illus 
trates  in  a  way  the  dominant  desire  of  the  chil 
dren  to  talk,  particularly  about  folks  and  of  things 
in  relation  to  folks.  If  you  observe  little  chil 
dren,  you  will  find  they  are  interested  in  the 
world  of  things  mainly  in  its  connection  with 
people,  as  a  background  and  medium  of  human 
concerns.  Many  anthropologists  have  told  us 
there  are  certain  identities  in  the  child  interests 
with  those  of  primitive  life.  There  is  a  sort  or 
natural  recurrence  of  the  child  mind  to  the 
typical  activities  of  primitive  peoples  ;  witness 
the  hut  which  the  boy  likes  to  build  in  the 
yard,  playing  hunt,  with  bows,  arrows,  spears, 
and  so  on.  Again  the  question  comes :  What 
are  we  to  do  with  this  interest  —  are  we  to  ignore 
it,  or  just  excite  and  draw  it  out?  Or  shall  we 
get  hold  of  it  and  direct  it  to  something  ahead, 
something  better  ?  Some  of  the  work  that  has 
been  planned  for  our  seven-year-old  children  has 
the  latter  end  in  view  —  to  utilize  this  interest 
so  that  it  shall  become  a  means  of  seeing  the 
progress  of  the  human  race.  The  children  begin 
by  imagining  present  conditions  taken  away  until 
they  are  in  contact  with  nature  at  first  hand. 
That  takes  them  back  to  a  hunting  people,  to  a 
people  living  in  caves  or  trees  and  getting  a  pre 
carious  subsistence  by  hunting  and  fishing.  They 
imagine  as  far  as  possible  the  various  natural 



physical  conditions  adapted  to  that  sort  of  life; 
say,  a  hilly,  woody  slope,  near  mountains  and 
a  river  where  fish  would  be  abundant.  Then 
they  go  on  in  imagination  through  the  hunting  to 
the  semi-agricultural  stage,  and  through  the  no 
madic  to  the  settled  agricultural  stage.  The 
point  I  wish  to  make  is  that  there  is  abundant 
opportunity  thus  given  for  actual  study,  for  in 
quiry  which  results  in  gaining  information.  So, 
while  the  instinct  primarily  appeals  to  the  social 
side,  the  interest  of  the  child  in  people  and  their 
doings  is  carried  on  into  the  larger  world  of 
reality.  For  example,  the  children  had  some 
idea  of  primitive  weapons,  of  the  stone  arrow 
head,  etc.  That  provided  occasion  for  the  testing 
of  materials  as  regards  their  friability,  their  shape, 
texture,  etc.,  resulting  in  a  lesson  in  mineralogy,  as 
they  examined  the  different  stones  to  find  which 
was  best  suited  to  the  purpose.  The  discussion 
of  the  iron  age  supplied  a  demand  for  the  con 
struction  of  a  smelting  oven  made  out  of  clay, 
and  of  considerable  size.  As  the  children  did 
not  get  their  drafts  right  at  first,  the  mouth  of 
the  furnace  not  being  in  proper  relation  to  the 
vent,  as  to  size  and  position,  instruction  in  the 
principles  of  combustion,  the  nature  of  drafts  and 
of  fuel,  was  required.  Yet  the  instruction  was  not 
given  ready-made ;  it  was  first  needed,  and  then 
arrived  at  experimentally.  Then  the  children 


took  some  material,  such  as  copper,  and  went 
through  a  series  of  experiments,  fusing  it,  work 
ing  it  into  objects ;  and  the  same  experiments 
were  made  with  lead  and  other  metals.  This  work 
has  been  also  a  continuous  course  in  geography, 
since  the  children  have  had  to  imagine  and 
work  out  the  various  physical  conditions  neces 
sary  to  the  different  forms  of  social  life  implied. 
What  would  be  the  physical  conditions  appropri 
ate  to  pastoral  life  ?  to  the  beginning  of  agricul 
ture  ?  to  fishing  ?  What  would  be  the  natural 
method  of  exchange  between  these  peoples  ? 
Having  worked  out  such  points  in  conversation, 
they  have  afterward  represented  them  in  maps 
and  sand-molding.  Thus  they  have  gained  ideas 
of  the  various  forms  of  the  configuration  of  the 
earth,  and  at  the  same  time  have  seen  them 
in  their  relation  to  human  activity,  so  that  they 
are  not  simply  external  facts,  but  are  fused  and 
welded  with  social  conceptions  regarding  the  life 
and  progress  of  humanity.  The  result,  to  my 
mind,  justifies  completely  the  conviction  that 
children,  in  a  year  of  such  work  (of  five  hours  a 
week  altogether),  get  indefinitely  more  acquaint 
ance  with  facts  of  science,  geography,  and 
anthropology  than  they  get  where  information  is 
the  professed  end  and  object,  where  they  are 
simply  set  to  learning  facts  in  fixed  lessons.  As 
to  discipline,  they  get  more  training  of  attention, 


more  power  of  interpretation,  of  drawing  infer 
ences,  of  acute  observation  and  continuous  reflec 
tion,  than  if  they  were  put  to  working  out  arbi 
trary  problems  simply  for  the  sake  of  discipline. 
I  should  like  at  this  point  to  refer  to  the  reci- 
taton.  We  all  know  what  it  has  been — a  placer 
where  the  child  shows  off  to  the  teacher  and  the 
other  children  the  amount  of  information  he  has 
succeeded  in  assimilating  from  the  text-book. 
From  this  other  standpoint,  the  recitation  be 
comes  preeminently  a  social  meeting  place;  it  is 
to  the  school  what  the  spontaneous  conversation 
is  at  home,  excepting  that  it  is  more  organized, 
following  definite  lines.  The  recitation  becomes 
the  social  clearing-house,  where  experiences  and 
ideas  are  exchanged  and  subjected  to  criticism, 
where  misconceptions  are  corrected,  and  new 
lines  of  thought  and  inquiry  are  set  up. 

This  change  of  the  recitation  from  an  examina 
tion  of  knowledge  already  acquired  to  the  free 
play  of  the  children's  communicative  instinct, 
affects  and  modifies  all  the  language  work  of  the 
school.  Under  the  old  rtgime  it  was  unques 
tionably  a  most  serious  problem  to  give  the 
children  a  full  and  free  use  of  language.  The 
reason  was  obvious.  The  natural  motive  for 
language  was  seldom  offered.  In  the  peda 
gogical  text-books  language  is  defined  as  the 
medium  of  expressing  thought.  It  becomes 


that,  more  or  less,  to  adults  with  trained  minds, 
but  it  hardly  needs  to  be  said  that  language 
is  primarily  a  social  thing,  a  means  by  which 
we  give  our  experiences  to  others  and  get  theirs 
again  in  return.  When  it  is  taken  from  its 
natural  basis,  it  is  no  wonder  that  it  becomes  a 
complex  and  difficult  problem  to  teach  language. 
Think  of  the  absurdity  of  having  to  teach  lan 
guage  as  a  thing  by  itself.  If  there  is  anything  the 
child  will  do  before  he  goes  to  school,  it  is  to 
talk  of  the  things  that  interest  him.  But  when 
there  are  no  vital  interests  appealed  to  in  the 
school,  when  language  is  used  simply  for  the  repe 
tition  of  lessons,  it  is  not  surprising  that  one  of  the 
chief  difficulties  of  school  work  has  come  to  be 
instruction  in  the  mother-tongue.  Since  the  lan 
guage  taught  is  unnatural,  not  growing  out  of  the 
real  desire  to  communicate  vital  impressions  and 
convictions,  the  freedom  of  children  in  its  use 
gradually  disappears,  until  finally  the  high-school 
teacher  has  to  invent  all  kinds  of  devices  to 
assist  in  getting  any  spontaneous  and  full  use  of 
speech.  Moreover,  when  the  language  instinct  is 
appealed  to  in  a  social  way,  there  is  a  continual 
contact  with  reality.  The  result  is  that  the  child 
always  has  something  in  his  mind  to  talk  about, 
he  has  something  to  say ;  he  has  a  thought  to 
express,  and  a  thought  is  not  a  thought  unless 
it  is  one's  own.  On  the  traditional  method, 


the  child  must  say  something  that  he  has  merely 
learned.  There  is  all  the  difference  in  the 
world  between  having  something  to  say  and 
having  to  say  something.  The  child  who  has  a 
variety  of  materials  and  facts  wants  to  talk  about 
them,  and  his  language  becomes  more  refined 
and  full,  because  it  is  controlled  and  informed 
by  realities.  Reading  and  writing,  as  well  as  the 
oral  use  of  language,  maybe  taught  on  this  basis. 
It  can  be  done  in  a  related  way,  as  the  outgrowth 
of  the  child's  social  desire  to  recount  his  experi 
ences  and  get  in  return  the  experiences  of  others, 
directed  always  through  contact  with  the  facts 
and  forces  which  determine  the  truth  communi 

I  shall  not  have  time  to  speak  of  the  work  of 
the  older  children,  where  the  original  crude  in 
stincts  of  construction  and  communication  have 
been  developed  into  something  like  scientifically 
directed  inquiry,  but  I  will  give  an  illustration  of 
the  use  of  language  following  upon  this  experi 
mental  work.  The  work  was  on  the  basis  of  a 
simple  experiment  of  the  commonest  sort,  grad 
ually  leading  the  children  out  into  geological  and 
geographical  study.  The  sentences  that  I  am  go 
ing  to  read  seem  to  me  poetic  as  well  as  "scien 
tific."  "A  long  time  ago  when  the  earth  was  new, 
when  it  was  lava,  there  was  no  water  on  the  earth, 
and  there  was  steam  all  round  the  earth  up  in  the 


air,  as  there  were  many  gases  in  the  air.  One  of 
them  was  carbon  dioxide.  The  steam  became 
clouds,  because  the  earth  began  to  cool  off,  and 
after  a  while  it  began  to  rain,  and  the  water  came 
down  and  dissolved  the  carbon  dioxide  from  the 
air."  There  is  a  good  deal  more  science  in 
that  than  probably  would  be  apparent  at  the  out 
set.  It  represents  some  three  months  of  work  on 
the  part  of  the  child.  The  children  kept  daily 
and  weekly  records,  but  this  is  part  of  the  sum 
ming  up  of  the  quarter's  work.  I  call  this  lan 
guage  poetic,  because  the  child  has  a  clear  image 
and  has  a  personal  feeling  for  the  realities  imaged. 
I  extract  sentences  from  two  other  records  to  illus 
trate  further  the  vivid  use  of  language  when  there 
is  a  vivid  experience  back  of  it.  "  When  the 
earth  was  cold  enough  to  condense,  the  water, 
with  the  help  of  carbon  dioxide,  pulls  the  calcium 
out  of  the  rocks  into  a  large  body  of  water  where 
the  little  animals  could  get  it."  The  other  reads 
as  follows:  "When  the  earth  cooled,  calcium 
was  in  the  rocks.  Then  the  carbon  dioxide  and 
water  united  and  formed  a  solution,  and,  as  it  ran, 
it  tore  out  the  calcium  and  carried  it  on  to  the  sea, 
where  there  were  little  animals  who  took  it  out  of 
solution."  The  use  of  such  words  as  "pulled  "  and 
"tore"  in  connection  with  the  process  of  chem 
ical  combination  evidences  a  personal  realization 
which  compels  its  own  appropriate  expression. 


If  I  had  not  taken  so  much  time  in  my  other 
illustrations,  I  should  like  to  show  how,  beginning 
with  very  simple  material  things,  the  children 
were  led  on  to  larger  fields  of  investigation, 
and  to  the  intellectual  discipline  that  is  the  ac 
companiment  of  such  research.  I  will  simply 
mention  the  experiment  in  which  the  work 
began.  It  consisted  in  making  precipitated 
chalk,  used  for  polishing  metals.  The  children, 
with  simple  apparatus  —  a  tumbler,  lime  water, 
and  a  glass  tube  —  precipitated  the  calcium  car 
bonate  out  of  the  water  ;  and  from  this  beginning 
went  on  to  a  study  of  the  processes  by  which 
rocks  of  various  sorts,  igneous,  sedimentary,  etc., 
had  been  formed  on  the  surface  of  the  earth  and 
the  places  they  occupy  ;  then  to  points  in  the  ge 
ography  of  the  United  States,  Hawaii,  and  Puerto 
Rico  ;  to  the  effects  of  these  various  bodies  of 
rock,  in  their  various  configurations,  upon  the 
human  occupations  ;  so  that  this  geological  record 
finally  rounded  itself  out  into  the  life  of  man  at 
the  present  time.  The  children  saw  and  felt  the 
connection  between  these  geologic  processes  tak 
ing  place  ages  and  ages  ago,  and  the  physical 
conditions  determining  the  industrial  occupations 
of  today. 

Of  all  the  possibilities  involved  in  the  subject, 
"The  School  and  the  Life  of  the  Child,"  I  have 
selected  but  one,  because  I  have  found  that  that 


one  gives  people  more  difficulty,  is  more  of  a 
stumbling-block,  than  any  other.  One  may  be 
ready  to  admit  that  it  would  be  most  desirable 
for  the  school  to  be  a  place  in  which  the  child 
should  really  live,  and  get  a  life-experience  in 
which  he  should  delight  and  find  meaning  for 
its  own  sake.  But  then  we  hear  this  inquiry: 
how,  upon  this  basis,  shall  the  child  get  the 
needed  information  ;  how  shall  he  undergo  the 
required  discipline  ?  Yes,  it  has  come  to  this, 
that  with  many,  if  not  most,  people  the  normal 
processes  of  life  appear  to  be  incompatible  with 
getting  information  and  discipline.  So  I  have 
tried  to  indicate,  in  a  highly  general  and  inade 
quate  way  (for  only  the  school  itself,  in  its  daily 
operation,  could  give  a  detailed  and  worthy  rep 
resentation),  how  the  problem  works  itself  out  — 
how  it  is  possible  to  lay  hold  upon  the  rudimentary 
instincts  of  human  nature,  and,  by  supplying  a 
proper  medium,  so  control  their  expression  as 
not  only  to  facilitate  and  enrich  the  growth  of  the 
individual  child,  but  also  to  supply  the  results, 
and  far  more,  of  technical  information  and  disci 
pline  that  have  been  the  ideals  of  education  in  the 

But  although  I  have  selected  this  especial  way 
of  approach  (as  a  concession  to  the  question 
almost  universally  raised),  I  am  not  willing  to 
leave  the  matter  in  this  mpre  or  less  negative  and 


explanatory  condition.  Life  is  the  great  thing 
after  all  ;  the  life  of  the  child  at  its  time  and  in 
its  measure,  no  less  than  the  life  of  the  adult. 
Strange  would  it  be,  indeed,  if  intelligent  and 
serious  attention  to  what  the  child  now  needs  and 
is  capable  of  in  the  way  of  a  rich,  valuable,  and 
expanded  life  should  somehow  conflict  with  the 
needs  and  possibilities  of  later,  adult  life.  "  Let 
us  live  with  our  children,"  certainly  means,  first 
of  all,  that  our  children  shall  live — not  that  they 
shall  be  hampered  and  stunted  by  being  forced 
into  all  kinds  of  conditions,  the  most  remote  con 
sideration  of  which  is  relevancy  to  the  present 
life  of  the  child.  If  we  seek  the  kingdom  of 
heaven,  educationally,  all  other  things  shall  be 
added  unto  us  —  which,  being  interpreted,  is  that 
if  we  identify  ourselves  with  the  real  instincts  ana*"  " 
needs  of  childhood,  and  ask  only  after  its  fullest 
assertion  and  growth,  the  discipline  and  informa 
tion  and  culture  of  adult  life  shall  all  come  in 
their  due  season. 

Speaking  of  culture  reminds  me  that  in  a  way 
I  have  been  speaking  only  of  the  outside  of  the 
child's  activity  —  only  of  the  outward  expression 
of  his  impulses  toward  saying,  making,  finding 
out,  and  creating.  The  real  child,  it  hardly  need 
be  said,  lives  in  the  world  of  imaginative  values, 
and  ideas  which  find  only  imperfect  outward 
embodiment.  We  hear  much  nowadays  about 


the  cultivation  of  the  child's  "imagination." 
Then  we  undo  much  of  our  own  talk  and  work 
by  a  belief  that  the  imagination  is  some  special 
part  of  the  child,  that  finds  its  satisfaction  in  some 
one  particular  direction  —  generally  speaking,  that 
of  the  unreal  and  make-believe,  of  the  myth 
and  made-up  story.  Why  are  we  so  hard  of 
heart  and  so  slow  to  believe  ?  The  imagination 
is  the  medium  in  which  the  child  lives.  To  him 
there  is  everywhere  and  in  everything  that  occu 
pies  his  mind  and  activity  at  all,  a  surplusage  of 
value  and  significance.  The  question  of  the  rela 
tion  of  the  school  to  the  child's  life  is  at  bottom 
simply  this :  shall  we  ignore  this  native  setting 
and  tendency,  dealing  not  with  the  living  child 
at  all,  but  with  the  dead  image  we  have  erected, 
or  shall  we  give  it  play  and  satisfaction  ?  If 
we  once  believe  in  life  and  in  the  life  of  the  child, 
then  will  all  the  occupations  and  uses  spoken  of, 
then  will  all  history  and  science,  become  in 
struments  of  appeal  and  materials  of  culture  to 
his  imagination,  and  through  that  to  the  rich 
ness  and  the  orderliness  of  his  life.  Where  we 
now  see  only  the  outward  doing  and  the  outward 
product,  there,  behind  all  visible  results,  is  the 
re-adjustment  of  mental  attitude,  the  enlarged  and 
sympathetic  vision,  the  sense  of  growing  power, 
and  the  willing  ability  to  identify  both  insight 
and  capacity  with  the  interests  of  the  world  and 


man.  Unless  culture  be  a  superficial  polish,  a 
veneering  of  mahogany  over  common  wood,  it 
surely  is  this  —  the  growth  of  the  imagination  in 
flexibility,  in  scope,  and  in  sympathy,  till  the  life 
which  the  individual  lives  is  informed  with  the 
life  of  nature  and  of  society.  When  nature  and 
society  can  live  in  the  schoolroom,  when  the 
forms  and  tools  of  learning  are  subordinated  to 
the  substance  of  experience,  then  shall  there  be 
an  opportunity  for  this  identification,  and  culture 
shall  be  the  democratic  password. 




The  subject  announced  for  today  was  "Waste 
in  Education."     I  should  like  first  to  state  briefly 
its  relation  to  the  two  preceding  lectures.     The 
first  dealt  with  the  school  in  its  social  aspects, 
and  the  necessary  re-adjustments  that  have  to  be 
made  to  render  it  effective  in  present  social  con 
ditions.     The  second   dealt  with   the   school    in 
relation   to   the  growth    of   individual    children. 
Now  the  third  deals  with  the  school  as  itself  an 
institution,  both  in  relation  to  society  and  to  its 
own  members — the  children.     It  deals  with  the 
question  of  organization,  because  all  waste  is  the 
result  of  the  lack  of  it,  the  motive  lying  behind 
organization    being  promotion  of   economy  and 
efficiency.     This  question  is  not  one  of  the  waste 
of  money  or  the  waste  of  things.     These  matters  k 
count ;  but  the  primary  waste  is  that  of  human  /I 
life,  the  life  of  the   children  while  they  are  at  11 
school,  and  afterward  because  of  inadequate  and'' 
perverted  preparation. 

So,  when  we  speak  of  organization,  we  are  not 

to  think  simply  of  the  externals  ;  of  that  which 

goes  by  the  name  "  school  system  " — the  school 

board,  the  superintendent,  and  the  building,  the 



engaging  and  promotion  of  teachers,  etc.  These 
things  enter  in,  but  the  fundamental  organization 
is  that  of  the  school  itself  as  a  community  of  in 
dividuals,  in  its  relations  to  other  forms  of  social 
life.  All  waste  is  due  to  isolation.  Organiza 
tion  is  nothing  but  getting  things  into  connection 
with  one  another,  so  that  they  work  easily,  flexi 
bly,  and  fully.  Therefore  in  speaking  of  this 
question  of  waste  in  education,  I  desire  to  call 
your  attention  to  the  isolation  of  the  various 
parts  of  the  school  system,  to  the  lack  of  unity 
in  the  aims  of  education,  to  the  lack  of  coherence 
in  its  studies  and  methods. 

I  have  made  a  chart  (I)  which,  while  I  speak 
of  the  isolations  of  the  school  system  itself,  may 
perhaps  appeal  to  the  eye  and  save  a  little  time 
in  verbal  explanations.  A  paradoxical  friend  of 
mine  says  there  is  nothing  so  obscure  as  an  illus 
tration,  and  it  is  quite  possible  that  my  attempt 
to  illustrate  my  point  will  simply  prove  the  truth 
of  his  statement. 

The  blocks  represent  the  various  elements  in 
the  school  system,  and  are  intended  to  indicate 
roughly  the  length  of  time  given  to  each  division, 
and  also  the  overlapping,  both  in  time  and  sub 
jects  studied,  of  the  individual  parts  of  the  sys 
tem.  With  each  block  is  given  the  historical 
conditions  in  which  it  arose  and  its  ruling 


The  school  system,  upon  the  whole,  has  grown 
from  the  top  down.  During  the  middle  ages  it 
was  essentially  a  cluster  of  professional  schools  — 
especially  law  and  theology.  Our  present  uni 
versity  comes  down  to  us  from  the  middle  ages. 
I  will  not  say  that  at  present  it  is  a  mediaeval 
institution,  but  it  had  its  roots  in  the  middle  ages, 
and  it  has  not  outlived  all  mediaeval  traditions 
regarding  learning. 

The  kindergarten,  rising  with  the  present  cen 
tury,  was  a  union  of  the  nursery  and  of  the  phi 
losophy  of  Schelling  ;  a  wedding  of  the  plays 
and  games  which  the  mother  carried  on  with  her 
children,  to  Schilling's  highly  romantic  and  sym 
bolic  philosophy.  The  elements  that  came  from 
the  actual  study  of  child  life — the  continuation 
of  the  nursery  —  have  remained  a  life-bringing 
force  in  all  education  ;  the  Schellingesque  factors 
made  an  obstruction  between  it  and  the  rest  of 
the  school  system,  brought  about  isolations. 

The  line  drawn  over  the  top  indicates  that 
there  is  a  certain  interaction  between  the  kinder 
garten  and  the  primary  school ;  for,  so  far  as  the 
primary  school  remained  in  spirit  foreign  to  the 
natural  interests  of  child  life,  it  was  isolated  from 
the  kindergarten,  so  that  it  is  a  problem,  at  pres 
ent,  to  introduce  kindergarten  methods  into  the 
primary  school ;  the  problem  of  the  so-called 
connecting  class.  The  difficulty  is  that  the  two 


are  not  one  from  the  start.  To  get  a  connection 
the  teacher  has  had  to  climb  over  the  wall  instead 
of  entering  in  at  the  gate. 

On  the  side  of  aims,  the  ideal  of  the  kinder 
garten  was  the  moral  development  of  the  children, 
rather  than  instruction  or  discipline  ;  an  ideal 
sometimes  emphasized  to  the  point  of  sentimen 
tality.  The  primary  school  grew  practically  out 
of  the  popular-movement  of  the  sixteenth  century, 
when  along  with  the  invention  of  printing  and 
the  growth  of  commerce,  it  became  a  business 
necessity  to  know  how  to  read,  write,  and  figure. 
The  aim  was  distinctly  a  practical  one  ;  it  was 
utility  ;  getting  command  of  these  tools,  the  sym 
bols  of  learning,  not  for  the  sake  of  learning,  but 
because  they  gave  access  to  careers  in  life  other 
wise  closed. 

The  division  next  to  the  primary  school  is  the 
grammar  school.  The  term  is  not  much  used  in 
the  West,  but  is  common  in  the  eastern  states. 
It  goes  back  to  the  time  of  the  revival  of  learn 
ing —  a  little  earlier  perhaps  than  the  conditions 
out  of  which  the  primary  school  originated,  and, 
even  when  contemporaneous,  having  a  different 
ideal.  It  had  to  do  with  the  study  of  language 
in  the  higher  sense  ;  because,  at  the  time  of  the 
Renaissance,  Latin  and  Greek  connected  people 
with  the  culture  of  the  past,  with  the  Roman  and 
Greek  world.  The  classic  languages  were  the 


only  means  of  escape  from  the  limitations  of  the 
middle  ages.  Thus  there  sprang  up  the  proto 
type  of  the  grammar  school,  more  liberal  than 
the  university  (so  largely  professional  in  charac 
ter),  for  the  purpose  of  putting  into  the  hands  of 
the  people  the  key  to  the  old  learning,  that 
men  might  see  a  world  with  a  larger  horizon. 
The  object  was  primarily  culture,  secondarily  dis 
cipline.  It  represented  much  more  than  the 
present  grammar  school.  It  was  the  liberal  ele 
ment  in  the  college,  which,  extending  downward, 
grew  into  the  academy  and  the  high  school. 
Thus  the  secondary  school  is  still  in  part  just  a 
lower  college  (having  an  even  higher  curriculum 
than  the  college  of  a  few  centuries  ago)  or  a  pre 
paratory  department  to  a  college,  and  in  part  a 
rounding  up  of  the  utilities  of  the  elementary 

There  appear  then  two  products  of  the  nine 
teenth  century,  the  technical  and  normal  schools. 
The  schools  of  technology,  engineering,  etc.,  are, 
of  course,  mainly  the  development  of  nineteenth- 
century  business  conditions,  as  the  primary  school 
was  the  development  of  business  conditions  of 
the  sixteenth  century.  The  normal  school  arose 
because  of  the  necessity  for  training  teachers, 
with  the  idea  partly  of  professional  drill,  and 
partly  that  of  culture. 

Without    going   into    more    detail,    we    have 


some  eight  different  parts  of  the  school  system 
as  represented  on  the  chart,  all  of  which  arose 
historically  at  different  times,  having  different 
ideals  in  view,  and  consequently  different  meth 
ods.  I  do  not  wish  to  suggest  that  all  of  the 
isolation,  all  of  the  separation,  that  has  existed 
in  the  past  between  the  different  parts  of  the 
school  system  still  persists.  One  must,  however, 
recognize  that  they  have  never  yet  been  welded 
into  one  complete  whole.  The  great  problem  in 
education  on  the  administrative  side  is  how  to 
unite  these  different  parts. 

Consider  the  training  schools  for  teachers  — 
the  normal  schools.  These  occupy  at  present  a 
somewhat  anomalous  position,  intermediate  be 
tween  the  high  school  and  the  college,  requiring 
the  high-school  preparation,  and  covering  a  cer 
tain  amount  of  college  work.  They  are  isolated 
from  the  higher  subject-matter  of  scholarship, 
since,  upon  the  whole,  their  object  has  been 
to  train  persons  how  to  teach,  rather  than  what 
to  teach ;  while,  if  we  go  to  the  college,  we  find 
the  other  half  of  this  isolation  —  learning  what  to 
teach,  with  almost  a  contempt  for  methods  of 
teaching.  The  college  is  shut  off  from  contact 
with  children  and  youth.  Its  members,  to  a  great 
extent,  away  from  home  and  forgetting  their  own 
childhood,  become  eventually  teachers  with  a 
large  amount  of  subject-matter  at  command,  and 


little  knowledge  of  how  this  is  related  to  the 
minds  of  those  to  whom  it  is  to  be  taught.  In 
this  division  between  what  to  teach  and  how  to 
teach,  each  side  suffers  from  the  separation. 

It  is  interesting  to  follow  out  the  inter-relation 
between  primary,  grammar,  and  high  schools. 
The  elementary  school  has  crowded  up  and 
taken  many  subjects  previously  studied  in  the 
old  New  England  grammar  school.  The  high 
school  has  pushed  its  subjects  down.  Latin  and 
algebra  have  been  put  in  the  upper  grades,  so 
that  the  seventh  and  eighth  grades  are,  after  all, 
about  all  that  is  left  of  the  old  grammar  school. 
They  are  a  sort  of  amorphous  composite,  being 
partly  a  place  where  children  go  on  learning 
what  they  already  have  learned  (to  read,  write, 
and  figure) ,  and  partly  a  place  of  preparation  for 
the  high  school.  The  name  in  some  parts  of 
New  England  for  these  upper  grades  was  "Inter 
mediate  School."  The  term  was  a  happy  one ; 
the  work  was  simply  intermediate  between  some 
thing  that  had  been  and  something  that  was 
going  to  be,  having  no  special  meaning  on  its 
own  account. 

Just  as  the  parts  are  separated,  so  do  the  ideals 
differ  —  moral  development,  practical  utility, 
general  culture,  discipline,  and  professional  train 
ing.  These  aims  are  each  especially  represented 
in  some  distinct  part  of  the  system  of  education  ; 


and  with  the  growing  interaction  of  the  parts, 
each  is  supposed  to  afford  a  certain  amount  of 
culture,  discipline,  and  utility.  But  the  lack  of 
fundamental  unity  is  witnessed  in  the  fact  that 
one  study  is  still  considered  good  for  discipline, 
and  another  for  culture  ;  some  parts  of  arithmetic, 
for  example,  for  discipline  and  others  for  use, 
literature  for  culture,  grammar  for  discipline, 
geography  partly  for  utility,  partly  for  culture; 
and  so  on.  The  unity  of  education  is  dissipated, 
and  the  studies  become  centrifugal ;  so  much  of 
this  study  to  secure  this  end,  so  much  of  that  to 
secure  another,  until  the  whole  becomes  a  sheer 
compromise  and  patchwork  between  contending 
aims  and  disparate  studies.  The  great  problem 
in  education  on  the  administrative  side  is  to 
secure  the  unity  of  the  whole,  in  the  place  of  a 
sequence  of  more  or  less  unrelated  and  overlap 
ping  parts  and  thus  to  reduce  the  waste  arising 
from  friction,  reduplication  and  transitions  that 
are  not  properly  bridged. 

In  this  second  symbolic  diagram  (II)  I  wish  to 
suggest  that  really  the  only  way  to  unite  the  parts 
of  the  system  is  to  unite  each  to  life.  We  can  get 
only  an  artificial  unity  so  long  as  we  confine  our 
gaze  to  the  school  system  itself.  We  must  look 
at  it  as  part  of  the  larger  whole  of  social  life.  This 
block  (A)  in  the  center  represents  the  school 
system  as  a  whole.  (  I )  At  one  side  we  have  the 






g  <u 


ft  (0 


home,  and  the  two  arrows  represent  the  free 
interplay  of  influences,  materials,  and  ideas  be 
tween  the  home  life  and  that  of  the  school.  (2) 
Below  we  have  the  relation  to  the  natural  envi 
ronment,  the  great  field  of  geography  in  the  widest 
sense.  The  school  building  has  about  it  a  natural 
environment.  It  ought  to  be  in  a  garden,  and 
the  children  from  the  garden  would  be  led  on  to 
surrounding  fields,  and  then  into  the  wider  coun 
try,  with  all  its  facts  and  forces.  (3)  Above  is 
represented  business  life,  and  the  necessity  for 
free  play  between  the  school  and  the  needs 
and  forces  of  industry.  (4)  On  the  other  side 
is  the  university  proper,  with  its  various  phases, 
its  laboratories,  its  resources  in  the  way  of 
libraries,  museums,  and  professional  schools. 

From  the  standpoint  of  the  child,  the  great 
waste  in  the  school  comes  from  his  inability  to 
utilize  the  experiences  he  gets  outside  the  school 
in  any  complete  and  free  way  within  the  school 
itself ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  he  is  unable  to 
apply  in  daily  life  what  he  is  learning  at  school. 
That  is  the  isolation  of  the  school  —  its  isolation 
from  life.  When  the  child  gets  into  the  school 
room  he  has  to  put  out  of  his  mind  a  large  part  of 
the  ideas,  interests,  and  activities  that  predomi 
nate  in  his  home  and  neighborhood.  So  the  school, 
being  unable  to  utilize  this  everyday  experience, 
sets  painfully  to  work,  on  another  tack  and  by  a 


variety  of  means,  to  arouse  in  the  child  an  interest 
in  school  studies.  While  I  was  visiting  in  the  city 
of  Moline  a  few  years  ago,  the  superintendent  told 
me  that  they  found  many  children  every  year, 
who  were  surprised  to  learn  that  the  Mississippi 
river  in  the  text-book  had  anything  to  do  with 
the  stream  of  water  flowing  past  their  homes. 
The  geography  being  simply  a  matter  of  the 
schoolroom,  it  is  more  or  less  of  an  awakening  to 
many  children  to  find  that  the  whole  thing  is 
nothing  but  a  more  formal  and  definite  statement 
of  the  facts  which  they  see,  feel,  and  touch  every 
day.  When  we  think  that  we  all  live  on  the 
earth,  that  we  live  in  an  atmosphere,  that  our  lives 
are  touched  at  every  point  by  the  influences  of 
the  soil,  flora,  and  fauna,  by  considerations  of 
light  and  heat,  and  then  think  of  what  the  school 
study  of  geography  has  been,  we  have  a  typical 
idea  of  the  gap  existing  between  the  everyday 
experiences  of  the  child,  and  the  isolated  mate 
rial  supplied  in  such  large  measure  in  the  school. 
This  is  but  an  instance,  and  one  upon  which  most 
of  us  may  reflect  long  before  we  take  the  pres 
ent  artificiality  of  the  school  as  other  than  a  mat 
ter  of  course  or  necessity. 

Though  there  should  be  organic  connection 
between  the  school  and  business  life,  it  is  not 
meant  that  the  school  is  to  prepare  the  child  for 
any  particular  business,  but  that  there  should  be 


a  natural  connection  of  the  everyday  life  of  the 
child  with  the  business  environment  about  him, 
and  that  it  is  the  affair  of  the  school  to  clarify 
and  liberalize  this  connection,  to  bring  it  to  con 
sciousness,  not  by  introducing  special  studies, 
like  commercial  geography  and  arithmetic,  but 
by  keeping  alive  the  ordinary  bonds  of  relation. 
The  subject  of  compound-business-partnership  is 
probably  not  in  many  of  the  arithmetics  nowa 
days,  though  it  was  there  not  a  generation  ago, 
for  the  makers  of  text-books  said  that  if  they 
left  out  anything  they  could  not  sell  their  books. 
This  compound-business-partnership  originated 
as  far  back  as  the  sixteenth  century.  The  joint- 
stock  company  had  not  been  invented,  and  as 
large  commerce  with  the  Indies  and  Americas 
grew  up,  it  was  necessary  to  have  an  accumula 
tion  of  capital  with  which  to  handle  it.  One  man 
said,  "I  will  put  in  this  amount  of  money  for  six 
months,"  and  another,  "So  much  for  two  years," 
and  so  on.  Thus  by  joining  together  they  got 
money  enough  to  float  their  commercial  enter 
prises.  Naturally,  then,  "  compound  partnership  " 
was  taught  in  the  schools.  The  joint-stock  com 
pany  was  invented ;  compound  partnership  dis 
appeared,  but  the  problems  relating  to  it  stayed 
in  the  arithmetics  for  two  hundred  years.  They 
were  kept  after  they  had  ceased  to  have  practi 
cal  utility,  for  the  sake  of  mental  discipline  — 


they  were  "such  hard  problems,  you  know."  A 
great  deal  of  what  is  now  in  the  arithmetics 
under  the  head  of  percentage  is  of  the  same 
nature.  Children  of  twelve  and  thirteen  years  of 
age  go  through  gain  and  loss  calculations,  and 
various  forms  of  bank  discount  so  complicated 
that  the  bankers  long  ago  dispensed  with  them. 
And  when  it  is  pointed  out  that  business  is  not 
done  this  way,  we  hear  again  of  "  mental  disci- ' 
pline."  And  yet  there  are  plenty  of  real  con 
nections  between  the  experience  of  children  and 
business  conditions  which  need  to  be  utilized  and 
illuminated.  The  child  should  study  his  com 
mercial  arithmetic  and  geography,  not  as  isolated 
things  by  themselves,  but  in  their  reference  to 
his  social  environment.  The  youth  needs  to 
become  acquainted  with  the  bank  as  a  factor  in 
modern  life,  with  what  it  does,  and  how  it  does 
it ;  and  then  relevant  arithmetical  processes 
would  have  some  meaning — quite  in  contradis 
tinction  to  the  time-absorbing  and  mind-killing 
examples  in  percentage,  partial  payments,  etc., 
found  in  all  our  arithmetics. 

The  connection  with  the  university,  as  indi 
cated  in  this  chart,  I  need  not  dwell  upon.  I 
simply  wish  to  indicate  that  there  ought  to  be 
a  free  interaction  between  all  the  parts  of  the 
school  system.  There  is  much  of  utter  triviality 
of  subject-matter  in  elementary  and  secondary 


education.  When  we  investigate  it,  we  find  that 
it  is  full  of  facts  taught  that  are  not  facts,  which 
have  to  be  unlearned  later  on.  Now,  this  hap 
pens  because  the  "lower"  parts  of  our  system 
are  not  in  vital  connection  with  the  "higher." 
The  university  or  college,  in  its  idea,  is  a  place  of 
research,  where  investigation  is  going  on,  a  place 
of  libraries  and  museums,  where  the  best  resources 
of  the  past  are  gathered,  maintained  and  organ 
ized.  It  is,  however,  as  true  in  the  school  as  in 
the  university  that  the  spirit  of  inquiry  can  be 
got  only  through  and  with  the  attitude  of  inquiry. 
The  pupil  must  learn  what  has  meaning,  what 
enlarges  his  horizon,  instead  of  mere  trivialities. 
He  must  become  acquainted  with  truths,  instead 
of  things  that 'were  regarded  as  such  fifty  years 
ago,  or  that  are  taken  as  interesting  by  the  mis 
understanding  of  a  partially  educated  teacher. 
It  is  difficult  to  see  how  these  ends  can  be 
reached  except  as  the  most  advanced  part  of  the 
educational  system  is  in  complete  interaction 
with  the  most  rudimentary. 

The  next  chart  (III)  is  an  enlargement  of  the 
second.  The  school  building  has  swelled  out,  so 
to  speak,  the  surrounding  environment  remaining 
the  same,  the  home,  the  garden  and  country,  the 
relation  to  business  life  and  the  university.  The 
object  is  to  show  what  the  school  must  become 
to  get  out  of  its  isolation  and  secure  the  organic 


connection  with  social  life  of  which  we  have  been 
speaking.  It  is  not  our  architect's  plan  for  the 
school  building  that  we  hope  to  have ;  but  it  is  a 
diagrammatic  representation  of  the  idea  which 
we  want  embodied  in  the  school  building.  On 
the  lower  side  you  see  the  dining-room  and  the 
kitchen,  at  the  top  the  wood  and  metal  shops,  and 
the  textile  room  for  sewing  and  weaving.  The 
center  represents  the  manner  in  which  all  come 
together  in  the  library;  that  is  to  say,  in  a  collec 
tion  of  the  intellectual  resources  of  all  kinds  that 
throw  light  upon  the  practical  work,  that  give  it 
meaning  and  liberal  value.  If  the  four  corners 
represent  practice,  the  interior  represents  the  the 
ory  of  the  practical  activities.  In  other  words, 
the  object  of  these  forms  of  practice  in  the  school 
is  not  found  chiefly  in  themselves,  or  in  the  tech 
nical  skill  of  cooks,  seamstresses,  carpenters  and 
masons,  but  in  their  connection,  on  the  social 
side,  with  the  life  without ;  while  on  the  individ 
ual  side  they  respond  to  the  child's  need  of  action, 
of  expression,  of  desire  to  do  something,  to  be 
constructive  and  creative,  instead  of  simply  pas 
sive  and  conforming.  Their  great  significance  is 
that  they  keep  the  balance  between  the  social 
and  individual  sides  —  the  chart  symbolizing  par 
ticularly  the  connection  with  the  social.  Here  on 
one  side  is  the  home.  How  naturally  the  lines  of 
connection  play  back  and  forth  between  the  home 



and  the  kitchen  and  the  textile  room  of  the  school! 
The  child  can  carry  over  what  he  learns  in  the 
home  and  utilize  it  in  the  school;  and  the  things 
learned  in  the  school  he  applies  at  home.  These 
are  the  two  great  things  in  breaking  down  isola 
tion,  in  getting  connection  —  to  have  the  child 
come  to  school  with  all  the  experience  he  has 
got  outside  the  school,  and  to  leave  it  with  some 
thing  to  be  immediately  used  in  his  everyday  life. 
The  child  comes  to  the  traditional  school  with  a 
healthy  body  and  a  more  or  less  unwilling  mind, 
though,  in  fact,  he  does  not  bring  both  his  body 
and  mind  with  him ;  he  has  to  leave  his  mind 
behind,  because  there  is  no  way  to  use  it  in  the 
school.  If  he  had  a  purely  abstract  mind,  he 
could  bring  it  to  school  with  him,  but  his  is  a 
concrete  one,  interested  in  concrete  things,  and 
unless  these  things  get  over  into  school  life,  he 
cannot  take  his  mind  with  him.  What  we  want 
is  to  have  the  child  come  to  school  with  a  whole 
mind  and  a  whole  body,  and  leave  school  with  a 
fuller  mind  and  an  even  healthier  body.  And 
speaking  of  the  body  suggests  that,  while  there 
is  no  gymnasium  in  these  diagrams,  the  active 
life  carried  on  in  its  four  corners  brings  with  it 
constant  physical  exercise,  while  our  gymna 
sium  proper  will  deal  with  the  particular  weak 
nesses  of  children  and  their  correction,  and 
will  attempt  more  consciously  to  build  up  the 


thoroughly  sound  body  as  the  abode  of  the  sound 

That  the  dining-room  and  kitchen  connect  with 
the  country  and  its  processes  and  products  it  is 
hardly  necessary  to  say.  Cooking  may  be  so 
taught  that  it  has  no  connection  with  country  life, 
and  with  the  sciences  that  find  their  unity  in  geog 
raphy.  Perhaps  it  generally  has  been  taught  with 
out  these  connections  being  really  made.  But 
all  the  materials  that  come  into  the  kitchen  have 
their  origin  in  the  country  ;  they  come  from  the 
soil,  are  nurtured  through  the  influences  of  light 
and  water,  and  represent  a  great  variety  of 
local  environments.  Through  this  connection, 
extending  from  the  garden  into  the  larger  world, 
the  child  has  his  most  natural  introduction  to  the 
study  of  the  sciences.  Where  did  these  things 
grow  ?  What  was  necessary  to  their  growth  ? 
What  their  relation  to  the  soil  ?  What  the  effect 
of  different  climatic  conditions?  and  so  on.  We 
all  know  what  the  old-fashioned  botany  was : 
partly  collecting  flowers  that  were  pretty,  press 
ing  and  mounting  them ;  partly  pulling  these 
flowers  to  pieces  and  giving  technical  names  to 
the  different  parts,  finding  all  the  different  leaves, 
naming  all  their  different  shapes  and  forms.  It 
was  a  study  of  plants  without  any  reference  to 
the  soil,  to  the  country,  or  to  growth.  In  contrast, 
a  real  study  of  plants  takes  them  in  their  natural 


environment  and  in  their  uses  as  well,  not  simply 
as  food,  but  in  all  their  adaptations  to  the  social 
life  of  man.  Cooking  becomes  as  well  a  most 
natural  introduction  to  the  study  of  chemistry,  giv 
ing  the  child  here  also  something  which  he  can  at 
once  bring  to  bear  upon  his  daily  experience.  I 
once  heard  a  very  intelligent  woman  say  that  she 
could  not  understand  how  science  could  be 
taught  to  little  children,  because  she  did  not  see 
how  they  could  understand  atoms  and  molecules. 
In  other  words,  since  she  did  not  see  how  highly 
abstract  facts  could  be  presented  to  the  child 
independently  of  daily  experience,  she  could  not 
understand  how  science  could  be  taught  at  all. 
Before  we  smile  at  this  remark,  we  need  to  ask 
ourselves  if  she  is  alone  in  her  assumption,  or 
whether  it  simply  formulates  almost  all  of  our 
school  practice. 

The  same  relations  with  the  outside  world  are 
found  in  the  carpentry  and  the  textile  shops. 
They  connect  with  the  country,  as  the  source  of 
their  materials,  with  physics,  as  the  science  of 
applying  energy,  with  commerce  and  distribution, 
with  art  in  the  development  of  .architecture  and 
decoration.  They  have  also  an  intimate  connec 
tion  with  the  university  on  the  side  of  its  tech 
nological  and  engineering  schools ;  with  the  lab 
oratory,  and  its  scientific  methods  and  results. 

To  go  back  to  the  square  which  is  marked  the 

ioo          THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

library  (Chart  III,  A) :  if  you  imagine  rooms  half 
in  the  four  corners  and  half  in  the  library,  you  will 
get  the  idea  of  the  recitation  room.  That  is  the 
place  where  the  children  bring  the  experiences,  the 
problems,  the  questions,  the  particular  facts  which 
they  have  found,  and  discuss  them  so  that  new 
light  may  be  thrown  upon  them,  particularly  new 
light  from  the  experience  of  others,  the  accumu 
lated  wisdom  of  the  world  —  symbolized  in  the 
library.  Here  is  the  organic  relation  of  theory  and 
practice;  the  child  not  simply  doing  things,  but 
getting  also  the  idea  of  what  he  does ;  getting 
from  the  start  some  intellectual  conception  that 
enters  into  his  practice  and  enriches  it ;  while 
every  idea  finds,  directly  or  indirectly,  some  appli 
cation  in  experience,  and  has  some  effect  upon 
life.  This,  I  need  hardly  say,  fixes  the  position 
of  the  "book"  or  reading  in  education.  Harm 
ful  as  a  substitute  for  experience,  it  is  all-impor 
tant  in  interpreting  and  expanding  experience. 

The  other  chart  (IV)  illustrates  precisely  the 
same  idea.  It  gives  the  symbolic  upper  story  of 
this  ideal  school.  In  the  upper  corners  are  the 
laboratories  ;  in  the  lower  corners  are  the  studios 
for  art  work,  both  the  graphic  and  auditory 
arts.  The  questions,  the  chemical  and  physical 
problems,  arising  in  the  kitchen  and  shop,  are 
taken  to  the  laboratories  to  be  worked  out.  For 
instance,  this  past  week  one  of  the  older  groups 


16  § 





O   0) 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY         103 

of  children  doing  practical  work  in  weaving 
which  involved  the  use  of  the  spinning  wheel, 
worked  out  the  diagrams  of  the  direction  of 
forces  concerned  in  treadle  and  wheel,  and  the 
ratio  of  velocities  between  wheel  and  spindle. 
In  the  same  manner,  the  plants  with  which  the 
child  has  to  do  in  cooking,  afford  the  basis  for  a 
concrete  interest  in  botany,  and  may  be  taken  and 
studied  by  themselves.  In  a  certain  school  in 
Boston  science  work  for  months  was  centered  in 
the  growth  of  the  cotton  plant,  and  yet  some 
thing  new  was  brought  in  every  day.  We  hope 
to  do  similar  work  with  all  the  types  of  plants 
that  furnish  materials  for  sewing  and  weaving. 
These  examples  will  suggest,  I  hope,  the  relation 
which  the  laboratories  bear  to  the  rest  of  the 

The  drawing  and  music,  or  the  graphic  and 
auditory  arts,  represent  the  culmination,  the 
idealization,  the  highest  point  of  refinement  of 
all  the  work  carried  on.  I  think  everybody  who 
has  not  a  purely  literary  view  of  the  subject  recog 
nizes  that  genuine  art  grows  out  of  the  work  of 
the  artisan.  The  art  of  the  Renaissance  was  great, 
because  it  grew  out  of  the  manual  arts  of  life.  It 
did  not  spring  up  in  a  separate  atmosphere,  how 
ever  ideal,  but  carried  on  to  their  spiritual  mean 
ing  processes  found  in  homely  and  everyday 
forms  of  life.  The  school  should  observe  this 

104          THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

relationship.  The  merely  artisan  side  is  narrow, 
but  the  mere  art,  taken  by  itself,  and  grafted  on 
from  without,  tends  to  become  forced,  empty, 
sentimental.  I  do  not  mean,  of  course,  that  all 
art  work  must  be  correlated  in  detail  to  the 
other  work  of  the  school,  but  simply  that  a 
spirit  of  union  gives  vitality  to  the  art,  and  depth 
and  richness  to  the  other  work.  All  art  involves 
physical  organs,  the  eye  and  hand,  the  ear  and 
voice;  and  yet  it  is  something  more  than  the 
mere  technical  skill  required  by  the  organs  of 
expression.  It  involves  an  idea,  a  thought,  a 
spiritual  rendering  of  things  ;  and  yet  it  is  other 
than  any  number  of  ideas  by  themselves.  It  is  a 
living  union  of  thought  and  the  instrument  of 
expression.  This  union  is  symbolized  by  saying 
that  in  the  ideal  school  the  art  work  might  be 
considered  to  be  that  of  the  shops,  passed  through 
the  alembic  of  library  and  museum  into  action 

Take  the  textile  room  as  an  illustration  of  such 
a  synthesis.  I  am  talking  about  a  future  school, 
the  one  we  hope,  some  time,  to  have.  The  basal 
fact  in  that  room  is  that  it  is  a  workshop,  doing 
actual  things  in  sewing,  spinning,  and  weaving. 
The  children  come  into  immediate  connection 
with  the  materials,  with  various  fabrics  of  silk,  cot 
ton,  linen  and  wool.  Information  at  once  appears 
in  connection  with  these  materials ;  their  origin, 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY          105 

history,  their  adaptation  to  particular  uses,  and 
.the  machines  of  various  kinds  by  which  the  raw 
materials  are  utilized.  Discipline  arises  in  dealing 
with  the  problems  involved,  both  theoretical  and 
practical.  Whence  does  the  culture  arise  ?  Partly 
from  seeing  all  these  things  reflected  through 
the  medium  of  their  scientific  and  historic  con 
ditions  and  associations,  whereby  the  child  learns 
to  appreciate  them  as  technical  achievements, 
as  thoughts  precipitated  in  action ;  and  partly 
because  of  the  introduction  of  the  art  idea  into 
the  room  itself.  In  the  ideal  school  there  would 
be  something  of  this  sort :  first,  a  complete  indus 
trial  museum,  giving  samples  of  materials  in  vari 
ous  stages  of  manufacture,  and  the  implements, 
from  the  simplest  to  the  most  complex,  used  in 
dealing  with  them  ;  then  a  collection  of  photo 
graphs  and  pictures  illustrating  the  landscapes 
and  the  scenes  from  which  the  materials  come, 
their  native  homes,  and  their  places  of  manufac 
ture.  Such  a  collection  would  be  a  vivid  and 
continual  lesson  in  the  synthesis  of  art,  science, 
and  industry.  There  would  be,  also,  samples  of 
the  more  perfect  forms  of  textile  work,  as  Italian, 
French,  Japanese,  and  Oriental.  There  would 
be  objects  illustrating  motives  of  design  and 
decoration  which  have  entered  into  production. 
Literature  would  contribute  its  part  in  its  ideal 
ized  representation  of  the  world-industries,  as 

io6          THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

the  Penelope  in  the  Odyssey  —  a  classic  in  lit 
erature  only  because  the  character  is  an  adequate 
embodiment  of  a  certain  industrial  phase  of  social 
life.  So,  from  Homer  down  to  the  present  time, 
there  is  a  continuous  procession  of  related  facts 
which  have  been  translated  into  terms  of  art. 
Music  lends  its  share,  from  the  Scotch  song  at 
the  wheel  to  the  spinning  song  of  Marguerite,  or 
of  Wagner's  Senta.  The  shop  becomes  a  pictured 
museum,  appealing  to  the  eye.  It  would  have 
not  only  materials,  beautiful  woods  and  designs, 
but  would  give  a  synopsis  of  the  historical  evolu 
tion  of  architecture  in  its  drawings  and  pictures. 
Thus  I  have  attempted  to  indicate  how  the 
school  may  be  connected  with  life  so  that  the 
experience  gained  by  the  child  in  a  familiar, 
commonplace  way  is  carried  over  and  made 
use  of  there,  and  what  the  child  learns  in  the 
school  is  carried  back  and  applied  in  everyday 
life,  making  the  school  an  organic  whole,  instead 
of  a  composite  of  isolated  parts.  The  isolation 
of  studies  as  well  as  of  parts  of  the  school  sys 
tem  disappears.  Experience  has  its  geographical 
aspect,  its  artistic  and  its  literary,  its  scientific 
and  its  historical  sides.  All  studies  arise  from 
aspects  of  the  one  earth  and  the  one  life  lived 
upon  it.  We  do  not  have  a  series  of  stratified 
earths,  one  of  which  is  mathematical,  another 
physical,  another  historical,  and  so  on.  We 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY         107 

should  not  live  very  long  in  any  one  taken  by 
itself.  We  live  in  a  world  where  all  sides  are 
bound  together.  All  studies  grow  out  of  relations 
in  the  one  great  comthon  world.  When  the  child 
lives  in  varied  but  doncrete  and  active  relation 
ship  to  this  common  world,  his  studies  are  natu 
rally  unified.  It  will  no  longer  be  a  problem  to 
correlate  studies.  The  teacher  will  not  have  to 
resort  to  all  sorts  of  devices  to  weave  a  little 
arithmetic  into  the  history  lesson,  and  the  like. 
Relate  the  school  to  life,  and  all  studies  are  of 
necessity  correlated. 

Moreover,  if  the  school  is  related  as  a  whole  to 
life  as  a  whole,  its  various  aims  and  ideals  — cul 
ture,  discipline,  information,  utility — cease  to  be 
variants,  for  one  of  which  we  must  select  one 
study  and  for  another  another.  The  growth  of 
the  child  in  the  direction  of  social  capacity  and 
service,  his  larger  and  more  vital  union  with  life, 
becomes  the  unifying  aim  ;  and  discipline,  culture 
and  information  fall  into  place  as  phases  of  this 

I  wish  to  say  one  word  more  about  the  rela 
tionship  of  our  particular  school  to  the  Univer 
sity.  The  problem  is  to  unify,  to  organize  edu 
cation,  to  bring  all  its  various  factors  together, 
through  putting  it  as  a  whole  into  organic  union 
with  everyday  life.  That  which  lies  back  of 
the  pedagogical  school  of  the  University  is  the 

io8          THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

necessity  of  working  out  something  to  serve  as  a 
model  for  such  unification,  extending  from  work 
beginning  with  the  four-year-old  child  up  through 
the  graduate  work  of  the  University.  Already 
we  have  much  help  from  the  University  in  scientific 
work  planned,  sometimes  even  in  detail,  by  heads 
of  the  departments.  The  graduate  student  comes 
to  us  with  his  researches  and  methods,  suggesting 
ideas  and  problems.  The  library  and  museum 
are  at  hand.  We  want  to  bring  all  things  edu 
cational  together;  to  break  down  the  barriers 
that  divide  the  education  of  the  little  child  from 
the  instruction  of  the  maturing  youth  ;  to  identify 
the  lower  and  the  higher  education,  so  that  it 
shall  be  demonstrated  to  the  eye  that  there  is  no 
lower  and  higher,  but  simply  education. 

Speaking  more  especially  with  reference  to 
the  pedagogical  side  of  the  work  :  I  suppose 
the  oldest  university  chair  of  pedagogy  in  our 
country  is  about  twenty  years  old  —  that  of  the 
University  of  Michigan,  founded  in  the  latter 
seventies.  But  there  are  only  one  or  two  that 
have  tried  to  make  a  connection  between  theory 
and  practice.  They  teach  for  the  most  part  by 
theory,  by  lectures,  by  reference  to  books,  rather 
than  through  the  actual  work  of  teaching  itself. 
At  Columbia,  through  the  Teachers'  College, 
there  is  an  extensive  and  close  connection  between 
the  University  and  the  training  of  teachers. 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY          109 

Something  has  been  done  in  one  or  two  other 
places  along  the  same  line.  We  want  an  even 
more  intimate  union  here,  so  that  the  University 
shall  put  all  its  resources  at  the  disposition  of  the 
elementary  school,  contributing  to  the  evolution 
of  valuable  subject-matter  and  right  method, 
while  the  school  in  turn  will  be  a  laboratory  in 
which  the  student  of  education  sees  theories  and 
ideas  demonstrated,  tested,  criticised,  enforced, 
and  the  evolution  of  new  truths.  We  want  the 
school  in  its  relation  to  the  University  to  be  a 
working  model  of  a  unified  education. 

A  word  as  to  the  relation  of  the  school  to 
educational  interests  generally.  I  heard  once 
that  the  adoption  of  a  certain  method  in  use  in 
our  school  was  objected  to  by  a  teacher  on  this 
ground  :  "You  know  that  it  is  an  experimental 
school.  They  do  not  work  under  the  same 
conditions  that  we  are  subject  to."  Now,  the 
purpose  of  performing  an  experiment  is  that 
other  people  need  not  experiment  ;  at  least  need 
not  experiment  so  much,  may  have  something 
definite  and  positive  to  go  by.  An  experiment 
demands  particularly  favorable  conditions  in 
order  that  results  may  be  reached  both  freely 
and  securely.  It  has  to  work  unhampered,  with 
all  the  needed  resources  at  command.  Labor 
atories  lie  back  of  all  the  great  business  enter" 
prises  of  today,  back  of  every  great  factory, 


every  railway  and  steamship  system.  Yet  the 
laboratory  is  not  a  business  enterprise  ;  it  does 
not  aim  to  secure  for  itself  the  conditions  of 
business  life,  nor  does  the  commercial  undertak 
ing  repeat  the  laboratory.  There  is  a  difference 
between  working  out  and  testing  a  new  truth,  or 
a  new  method,  and  applying  it  on  a  wide  scale, 
making  it  available  for  the  mass  of  men,  making 
it  commercial.  But  the  first  thing  is  to  discover 
the  truth,  to  afford  all  necessary  facilities,  for 
this  is  the  most  practical  thing  in  the  world  in 
the  long  run.  We  do  not  expect  to  have  other 
schools  literally  imitate  what  we  do.  A  working 
model  is  not  something  to  be  copied  ;  it  is  to 
afford  a  demonstration  of  the  feasibility  of  the 
principle,  and  of  the  methods  which  make  it 
feasible.  So  (to  come  back  to  our  own  point) 
we  want  here  to  work  out  the  problem  of  the 
unity,  the  organization  of  the  school  system  in 
itself,  and  to  do  this  by  relating  it  so  intimately 
to  life  as  to  demonstrate  the  possibility  and 
necessity  of  such  organization  for  all  education. 




The  school  was  started  the  first  week  in  Janu 
ary,  three  years  ago.  I  shall  try  this  afternoon  to 
give  a  brief  statement  of  the  ideas  and  problems 
that  were  in  mind  when  the  experiment  was 
started,  and  a  sketch  of  the  development  of  the 
work  since  that  time.  We  began  in  a  small  house 
in  Fifty-seventh  street,  with  fifteen  children.  We 
found  ourselves  the  next  year  with  twenty-five 
children  in  Kimbark  avenue,  and  then  moved  in 
January  to  Rosalie  court,  the  larger  quarters 
enabling  us  to  take  forty  children.  The  next 
year  the  numbers  increased  to  sixty,  the  school 
remaining  at  Rosalie  court.  This  year  we  have 
had  ninety-five  on  the  roll  at  one  time,  and  are 
located  at  5412  Ellis  avenue,  where  we  hope  to 
stay  till  we  have  a  building  and  grounds  of  our 

The  children  during  the  first  year  of  the  school 
were  between  the  ages  of  six  and  nine.  Now 

*  Stenographic  report  of  a  talk  by  John  Dewey  at  a  meeting 
of  the  Parents'  Association  of  the  University  Elementary  School, 
February,  1899;  somewhat  revised. 

1 14          THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

their  ages  range  between  four  and  thirteen  —  the 
members  of  the  oldest  group  being  in  their  thir 
teenth  year.  This  is  the  first  year  that  we  have 
children  under  six,  and  this  has  been  made  possi 
ble  through  the  liberality  of  friends  in  Honolulu, 
H.  I.,  who  are  building  up  there  a -memorial  kin 
dergarten  along  the  same  lines. 

The  expenses  of  the  school  during  the  first 
year,  of  two  terms  only,  were  between  $1,300  and 
$1,400.  The  expenses  this  year  will  be  about 
$12,000.  Of  this  amount  $5,500  will  come  from 
tuitions;  $5,000  has  been  given  by  friends  inter 
ested  in  the  school,  and  there  remains  about 
$1,500  yet  to  be  raised  for  the  conduct  of  the 
school.  This  is  an  indication  of  the  increase  of 
expenses.  The  average  expense  per  pupil  is 
about  the  same  since  the  start,  i,  e.,  $120  per 
child  per  school  year.  Relatively  speaking,  this 
year  the  expenses  of  the  school  took  something 
of  a  jump,  through  the  expense  of  moving  to  a 
new  building,  and  the  repairs  and  changes  there 
necessary.  An  increase  in  the  staff  of  teachers 
has  also  enlarged  the  work  as  well  as  the  debits 
of  the  school.  Next  year  (1899-1900)  we  hope 
to  have  about  120  children,  and  apparently  the 
expenses  will  be  about  $2,500  more  than  this.  Of 
this  amount  $2,000  will  be  met  by  the  increase  in 
tuition  from  the  pupils.  The  cost  of  a  child  to 
the  school,  $120  a  year,  is  precisely  the  tuition 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY          1 1 5 

charged  by  the  University  for  students  and  is 
double  the  average  tuition  charged  by  the  school. 
But  it  is  not  expected  that  the  University  tuition 
will  come  anywhere  near  meeting  the  expense 
involved  there.  One  reason  for  not  increasing 
the  tuition  here,  even  if  it  were  advisable  for  other 
reasons,  is  that  it  is  well  to  emphasize,  from  an 
educational  point  of  view,  that  elementary  as 
well  as  advanced  education  requires  endowment. 
There  is  every  reason  why  money  should  be 
spent  freely  for  the  organization  and  mainte 
nance  of  foundation  work  in  education  as  well 
as  for  the  later  stages. 

The  elementary  school  has  had  from  the  out 
set  two  sides  :  one,  the  obvious  one  of  instruc 
tion  of  the  children  who  have  been  intrusted  to 
it ;  the  other,  relationship  to  the  University, 
since  the  school  is  under  the  charge,  and  forms  a 
part  of  the  pedagogical  work  of  the  University. 

When  the  school  was  started,  there  were  cer 
tain  ideas  in  mind  —  perhaps  it  would  be  better 
to  say  questions  and  problems  ;  certain  points 
which  it  seemed  worth  while  to  test.  If  you  will 
permit  one  personal  word,  I  should  like  to  say 
that  it  is  sometimes  thought  that  the  school 
started  out  with  a  number  of  ready-made  princi 
ples  and  ideas  which  were  to  be  put  into  practice 
at  once.  It  has  been  popularly  assumed  that  I 
am  the  author  of  these  ready-made  ideas  and 

1 1 6          THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

principles  which  were  to  go  into  execution.  I 
take  this  opportunity  to  say  that  the  educational 
conduct  of  the  school,  as  well  as  its  administra 
tion,  the  selection  of  subject-matter,  and  the 
working  out  of  the  course  of  study,  as  well  as 
actual  instruction  of  children,  have  been  almost 
entirely  in  the  hands  of  the  teachers  of  the 
school  ;  and  that  there  has  been  a  gradual  devel 
opment  of  the  educational  principles  and  meth 
ods  involved,  not  a  fixed  equipment.  The  teach 
ers  started  with  question  marks,  rather  than  with 
fixed  rules,  and  if  any  answers  have  been  reached, 
it  is  the  teachers  in  the  school  who  have  supplied 
them.  We  started  upon  the  whole  with  four  such 
questions,  or  problems  : 

i.  What  can  be  done,  and  how  can  it  be 
done,  to  bring  the  school  into  closer  relation 
with  the  home  and  neighborhood  life  —  instead  of 
having  the  school  a  place  where  the  child  comes 
solely  to  learn  certain  lessons  ?  What  can  be 
done  to  break  down  the  barriers  which  have  unfor 
tunately  come  to  separate  the  school  life  from  the 
rest  of  the  everyday  life  of  the  child  ?  This  does 
not  mean,  as  it  is  sometimes,  perhaps,  interpreted 
to  mean,  that  the  child  should  simply  take  up  in 
the  school  things  already  experienced  at  home 
and  study  them,  but  that,  so  far  as  possible,  the 
child  shall  have  the  same  attitude  and  point  of 
view  in  the  school  as  in  the  home ;  that  he  shall 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY         1 1 7 

find  the  same  interest  in  going  to  school,  and  in 
there  doing  things  worth  doing  for  their  own  sake, 
that  he  finds  in  the  plays  and  occupations  which 
busy  him  in  his  home  and  neighborhood  life.  It 
means,  again,  that  the  motives  which  keep  the 
child  at  work  and  growing  at  home  shall  be  used 
in  the  school,  so  that  he  shall  not  have  to  acquire 
another  set  of  principles  of  actions  belonging 
only  to  the  school — separate  from  those  of  the 
home.  It  is  a  question  of  the  unity  of  the  child's 
experience,  of  its  actuating  motives  and  aims, 
not  of  amusing  or  even  interesting  the  child. 

2.  What  can  be  done  in  the  way  of  introdu 
cing  subject-matter  in  history  and  science  and  art, 
that  shall  have  a  positive  value  and  real  signifi 
cance  in  the  child's  own  life  ;  that  shall  represent, 
even  to  the  youngest  children,  something  worthy 
of  attainment  in  skill  or  knowledge ;  as  much  so 
to  the  little  pupil  as  are  the  studies  of  the  high- 
school  or  college  student  to  him  ?  You  know 
what  the  traditional  curriculum  of  the  first  few 
years  is,  even  though  many  modifications  have 
been  made.  Some  statistics  have  been  collected 
showing  that  75  or  80  per  cent,  of  the  first  three 
years  of  a  child  in  school  are  spent  "upon'  the 
form  —  not  the  substance  —  of  learning,  the 
mastering  of  the  symbols  of  reading,  writing, 
and  arithmetic.  There  is  not  much  positive  nu 
triment  in  this.  Its  purpose  is  important — is 


necessary — but  it  does  not  represent  the  same  kind 
of  increase  in  a  child's  intellectual  and  moral  ex 
perience  that  is  represented  by  positive  truth  of 
history  and  nature,  or  by  added  insight  into  reality 
and  beauty.  One  thing,  then,  we  wanted  to  find 
out  is  how  much  can  be  given  a  child  that  is 
really  worth  his  while  to  get,  in  knowledge  of  the 
world  about  him,  of  the  forces  in  the  world,  of 
historical  and  social  growth,  and  in  capacity  to 
express  himself  in  a  variety  of  artistic  forms. 
From  the  strictly  educational  side  this  has  been 
the  chief  problem  of  the  school.  It  is  along  this 
line  that  we  hope  to  make  our  chief  contribution 
to  education  in  general ;  we  hope,  that  is,  to  work 
out  and  publish  a  positive  body  of  subject-matter 
which  may  be  generally  available. 

3.  How  can  instruction  in  these  formal,  sym 
bolic  branches — the  mastering  of  the  ability  to 
read,  write,  and  use  figures  intelligently  —  be 
carried  on  with  everyday  experience  and  occu 
pation  as  their  background  and  in  definite  rela 
tions  to  other  studies  of  more  inherent  content, 
and  be  carried  on  in  such  a  way  that  the  child 
shall  feel  their  necessity  through  their  connection 
with  subjects  which  appeal  to  him  on  their  own 
account?  If  this  can  be  accomplished,  he  will 
have  a  vital  motive  for  getting  the  technical 
capacity.  It  is  not  meant,  as  has  been  sometimes 
jocosely  stated,  that  the  child  learn  to  bake  and 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY         119 

sew  at  school,  and  to  read,  write,  and  figure  at 
home.  It  is  intended  that  these  formal  subjects 
shall  not  be  presented  in  such  large  doses  at  first 
as  to  be  the  exclusive  objects  of  attention,  and 
that  the  child  shall  be  led  by  that  which  he  is 
doing  to  feel  the  need  for  acquiring  skill  in  the 
use  of  symbols  and  the  immediate  power  they 
give.  In  any  school,  if  the  child  realizes  the  mo 
tive  for  the  use  and  application  of  number  and 
language  he  has  taken  the  longest  step  toward 
securing  the  power ;  and  he  can  realize  the  mo 
tive  only  as  he  has  some  particular —  not  some 
general  and  remote — use  for  the  symbols. 

4.  Individual  attention.  This  is  secured  by 
small  groupings  —  eight  or  ten  in  a  class — and 
a  large  number  of  teachers  supervising  systemati 
cally  the  intellectual  needs  and  attainments  and 
physical  well-being  and  growth  of  the  child.  To 
secure  this  we  have  now  135  hours  of  instruct 
ors'  time  per  week,  that  is,  the  time  of  nine 
teachers  for  three  hours  per  day,  or  one  teacher 
per  group.  It  requires  but  a  few  words  to  make 
this  statement  about  attention  to  individual  pow 
ers  and  needs,  and  yet  the  whole  of  the  school's 
aims  and  methods,  moral,  physical,  intellectual, 
are  bound  up  in  it. 

I  think  these  four  points  present  a  fair  state 
ment  of  what  we  have  set  out  to  discover.  The 
school  is  often  called  an  experimental  school,  and 

120         THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

in  one  sense  that  is  the  proper  name.  I  do  not 
like  to  use  it  too  much,  for  fear  parents  will 
think  we  are  experimenting  upon  the  children, 
and  that  they  naturally  object  to.  But  it  is  an 
experimental  school  —  at  least  I  hope  so — with 
reference  to  education  and  educational  problems. 
We  have  attempted  to  find  out  by  trying,  by  do 
ing —  not  alone  by  discussion  and  theorizing — 
whether  these  problems  may  be  worked  out,  and 
how  they  may  be  worked  out. 

Next  a  few  words  about  the  means  that  have 
been  used  in  the  school  in  order  to  test  these 
four  questions,  and  to  supply  their  answers, 
and  first  as  to  the  place  given  to  hand-work  of 
different  kinds  in  the  school.  There  are  three 
main  lines  regularly  pursued  :  (#)  the  shop-work 
with  wood  and  tools,  (£)  cooking  work,  and  (c) 
work  with  textiles — sewing  and  weaving.  Of 
course,  there  is  other  hand-work  in  connection 
with  science,  as  science  is  largely  of  an  experi 
mental  nature.  It  is  a  fact  that  may  not  have 
come  to  your  attention  that  a  large  part  of  the 
best  and  most  advanced  scientific  work  involves 
a  great  deal  of  manual  skill,  the  training  of  the 
hand  and  eye.  It  is  impossible  for  one  to  be  a 
first-class  worker  in  science  without  this  train 
ing  in  manipulation,  and  in  handling  apparatus 
and  materials.  In  connection  with  the  his 
tory  work,  especially  with  the  younger  children, 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY         121 

hand-work  is  brought  in  in  the  way  of  making 
implements,  weapons,  tools,  etc.  Of  course,  the 
art  work  is  another  side  —  drawing,  painting,  and 
modeling.  Logically,  perhaps,  the  gymnasium 
work  does  not  come  in  here,  but  as  a  means 
of  developing  moral  and  intellectual  control 
through  the  medium  of  the  body  it  certainly 
does.  The  children  have  one-half  hour  per 
day  of  this  form  of  physical  exercise.  Along 
this  line  we  have  found  that  hand-work,  in  large 
variety  and  amount,  is  the  most  easy  and  natural 
method  of  keeping  up  the  same  attitude  of  the 
child  in  and  out  of  the  school.  The  child  gets  the 
largest  part  of  his  acquisitions  through  his  bodily 
activities,  until  he  learns  to  work  systematically 
with  the  intellect.  That  is  the  purpose  of  this 
work  in  the  school,  to  direct  these  activities,  to 
systematize  and  organize  them,  so  that  they  shall 
not  be  as  haphazard  and  as  wandering  as  they  are 
outside  of  school.  The  problem  of  making  these 
forms  of  practical  activity  work  continuously  and 
definitely  together,  leading  from  one  factor  of  skill 
to  another,  from  one  intellectual  difficulty  to 
another,  has  been  one  of  the  most  difficult,  and 
at  the  same  time  one  in  which  we  have  been 
most  successful.  The  various  kinds  of  work, 
carpentry,  cooking,  sewing,  and  weaving,  are 
selected  as  involving  different  kinds  of  skill,  and 
demanding  different  types  of  intellectual  attitude 

122          THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

on  the  part  of  the  child,  and  because  they  repre 
sent  some  of  the  most  important  activities  of  the 
everyday  outside  world  :  the  question  of  living 
under  shelter,  of  daily  food  and  clothing,  of  the 
home,  of  personal  movement  and  exchange  of 
goods.  He  gets  also  the  training  of  sense  organs, 
of  touch,  of  sight,  and  the  ability  to  coordinate 
eye  and  hand.  He  gets  healthy  exercise  ;  for  the 
child  demands  a  much  larger  amount  of  physical 
activity  than  the  formal  program  of  the  ordi 
nary  school  permits.  There  is  also  a  continual 
appeal  to  memory,  to  judgment,  in  adapting 
ends  to  means,  a  training  in  habits  of  order, 
industry,  and  neatness  in  the  care  of  the  tools 
and  utensils,  and  in  doing  things  in  a  systematic, 
instead  of  a  haphazard,  way.  Then,  again, 
these  practical  occupations  make  a  background, 
especially  in  the  earlier  groups,  for  the  later 
studies.  The  children  get  a  good  deal  of 
chemistry  in  connection  with  cooking,  of  number 
work  and  geometrical  principles  in  carpentry,  and 
a  good  deal  of  geography  in  connection  with 
their  theoretical  work  in  weaving  and  sewing. 
History  also  comes  in  with  the  origin  and  growth 
of  various  inventions,  and  their  effects  upon 
social  life  and  political  organization. 

Perhaps  more  attention,  upon  the  whole,  has 
been  given  to  our  second  point,  that  of  positive 
subject-matter,  than  to  any  one  other  thing.  On 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY         123 

the  history  side  the  curriculum  is  now  fairly  well 
worked  out.  The  younger  children  begin  with  the 
home  and  occupations  of  the  home.  In  the  sixth 
year  the  intention  is  that  the  children  should 
study  occupations  outside  the  home,  the  larger 
social  industries  —  farming,  mining,  lumber,  etc. — 
that  they  may  see  the  complex  and  various  social 
industries  on  which  life  depends,  while  inciden 
tally  they  investigate  the  use  of  the  various  mate 
rials — woods,  metals,  and  the  processes  applied  — 
thus  getting  a  beginning  of  scientific  study.  The 
next  year  is  given  to  the  historical  development 
of  industry  and  invention — starting  with  man  as 
a  savage  and  carrying  him  through  the  typical 
phases  of  his  progress  upward,  until  the  iron  age 
is  reached  and  man  begins  to  enter  upon  a 
civilized  career.  The  object  of  the  study  of 
primitive  life  is  not  to  keep  the  child  inter 
ested  in  lower  and  relatively  savage  stages, 
but  to  show  him  the  steps  of  progress  and 
development,  especially  along  the  line  of  in 
vention,  by  which  man  was  led  into  civiliza 
tion.  There  is  a  certain  nearness,  after  all,  in 
the  child  to  primitive  forms  of  life.  They  are 
much  more  simple  than  existing  institutions. 
By  throwing  the  emphasis  upon  the  progress 
of  man,  and  upon  the  way  advance  has  been 
made,  we  hope  to  avoid  the  objections  that 
hold  against  paying  too  much  attention  to 

124         THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

the  crudities  and  distracting  excitements  of  sav 
age  life. 

The  next  two  or  three  years,  i.  e.,  the  fourth 
and  fifth  grades,  and  perhaps  the  sixth,  will  be 
devoted  to  American  history.  It  is  then  that 
history,  properly  speaking,  begins,  as  the  study 
of  primitive  life  can  hardly  be  so  called. 

Then  comes  Greek  history  and  Roman,  in 
the  regular  chronological  order,  each  year  having 
its  own  work  planned  with  reference  to  what  has 
come  before  and  after. 

The  science  work  was  more  difficult  to  arrange 
and  systematize,  because  there  was  so  little  to 
follow  —  so  little  that  has  been  already  done  in 
an  organized  way.  We  are  now  at  work  upon  a 
program,1  and  I  shall  not  speak  in  detail  about  it. 
The  first  two  or  three  years  cultivate  the  chil 
dren's  powers  of  observation,  lead  them  to  sym 
pathetic  interest  in  the  habits  of  plants  and 
animals,  and  to  look  at  things  with  reference  to 
their  uses.  Then  the  center  of  the  work  becomes 
geographical — the  study  of  the  earth,  as  the  most 
central  thing.  From  this  almost  all  the  work 
grows  out,  and  to  it  the  work  goes  back.  Another 
standpoint  in  the  science  work  is  that  of  the 
application  of  natural  forces  to  the  service  of  man 
through  machines.  Last  year  a  good  deal  of  work 

'This  year's  program  is  published  in  the  Elementary  School 
Record.  Address  The  University  of  Chicago  Press  for  particulars. 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY         125 

was  done  in  electricity  (and  will  be  repeated  this 
year),  based  on  the  telegraph  and  telephone  — 
taking  up  the  things  that  can  easily  be  grasped. 

In  mechanics  they  have  studied  locks  and  clocks 
with  reference  to  the  adaptation  of  the  various 
parts  of  the  machinery.  All  this  work  makes 
a  most  excellent  basis  for  more  formal  physics 
later  on.  Cooking  gives  opportunity  for  get 
ting  a  great  many  ideas  of  heat  and  water,  and 
of  their  effects.  The  scientific  work  taken  up 
in  the  school  differs  mainly  from  that  of  other 
schools  in  having  the  experimental  part  —  phys 
ics  and  chemistry — emphasized,  and  is  not  con 
fined  simply  to  nature  study — the  study  of 
plants  and  animals.  Not  that  the  latter  is  less 
valuable,  but  that  we  find  it  possible  to  introduce 
the  physical  aspects  from  the  first. 

If  I  do  not  spend  a  large  amount  of  time  in 
speaking  of  the  music  and  art  work,  it  is  not 
because  they  are  not  considered  valuable  and 
important  —  certainly  as  much  so  as  any  other 
work  done  in  the  school,  not  only  in  the 
development  of  the  child's  moral  and  aes 
thetic  nature,  but  also  from  a  strictly  intel 
lectual  point  of  view.  I  know  of  no  work  in 
the  school  that  better  develops  the  power  of 
attention,  the  habit  of  observation  and  of  con- 
secutiveness,  of  seeing  parts  in  relation  to  a 

126          THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

I  shall  now  say  a  few  words  about  the  admin 
istrative  side  of  the  school.  At  the  outset  we 
mixed  up  the  children  of  different  ages  and  attain 
ments  as  much  as  possible,  believing  there  were 
mental  advantages  in  the  give-and-take  thus 
secured,  as  well  as  the  moral  advantages  in  hav 
ing  the  older  assume  certain  responsibilities  in 
the  care  of  the  younger.  As  the  school  grew,  it 
became  necessary  to  abandon  the  method,  and  to 
group  the  children  with  reference  to  their  com 
mon  capacities.  These  groupings,  however,  are 
based,  not  on  ability  to  read  and  write,  but  upon 
similarity  of  mental  attitude  and  interest,  and 
upon  general  intellectual  capacity  and  mental 
alertness.  There  are  ways  in  which  we  are  still 
trying  to  carry  out  the  idea  of  mixing  up  the 
children,  that  we  may  not  build  the  rigid  step- 
ladder  system  of  the  "graded"  school.  One 
step  in  this  direction  is  having  the  children  move 
about  and  come  in  contact  with  different  teachers. 
While  there  are  difficulties  and  evils  connected 
with  this,  I  think  one  of  the  most  useful  things 
in  the  school  is  that  children  come  into  intimate 
relation  with  a  number  of  different  personalities. 
The  children  also  meet  in  general  assemblies  — 
for  singing,  and  for  the  report  of  the  whole 
school  work  as  read  by  members  of  the  different 
groups.  The  older  children  are  also  given  a 
half  hour  a  week  in  which  to  join  some  of  the 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY         127 

younger  groups,  and,  if  possible,  as  in  hand 
work,  enter  into  the  work  of  the  younger  chil 
dren.  In  various  ways  we  are  attempting  to 
keep  a  family  spirit  throughout  the  school,  and 
not  the  feeling  of  isolated  classes  and  grades. 

The  organization  of  the  teaching  force  has 
gradually  become  departmental,  as  the  needs  of  the 
work  have  indicated  its  chief  branches.  So  we 
now  have  recognized  divisions  of  Science,  History, 
Domestic  or  Household  Arts,  Manual  Training  in 
the  limited  sense  (wood  and  metals),  Music,  Art 
(that  is,  drawing,  water  colors,  clay  modeling, 
etc.),  and  Gymnasium.  As  the  work  goes  on 
into  the  secondary  period,  the  languages  and 
mathematics  will  also  of  necessity  assume  a  more 
differentiated  and  distinct  position.  As  it  is 
sometimes  said  that  correlated  or  thoroughly 
harmonized  work  cannot  be  secured  upon  this 
basis,  I  am  happy  to  say  that  our  experience 
shows  positively  that  there  are  no  intrinsic  diffi 
culties.  Through  common  devotion  to  the  best 
development  of  the  child,  through  common  loy 
alty  to  the  main  aims  and  methods  of  the  school, 
our  teachers  have  demonstrated  that  in  educa 
tion,  as  in  business,  the  best  organization  is  se 
cured  through  proper  regard  for  natural  divi 
sions  of  labor,  interest,  and  training.  The  child 
secures  the  advantage  in  discipline  and  knowl 
edge  of  contact  with  experts  in  each  line,  while 

128          THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY 

the  individual  teachers  serve  the  common  thought 
in  diverse  ways,  thus  multiply  ing  and  re-inforcing  it. 
Upon  the  moral  side,  that  of  so-called  disci 
pline  and  order,  where  the  work  of  the  University 
Elementary  School  has  perhaps  suffered  most 
from  misunderstanding  and  misrepresentation,  I 
shall  say  only  that  our  ideal  has  been,  and  con 
tinues  to  be,  that  of  the  best  form  of  family  life, 
rather  than  that  of  a  rigid  graded  school.  In 
the  latter,  the  large  number  of  children  under 
the  care  of  a  single  teacher,  and  the  very  lim 
ited  number  of  modes  of  activity  open  to  the 
pupils,  have  made  necessary  certain  fixed  and 
somewhat  external  forms  of  "  keeping  order."  It 
would  be  very  stupid  to  copy  these,  under  the 
changed  conditions  of  our  school,  its  small 
groups  permitting  and  requiring  the  most  inti 
mate  personal  acquaintance  of  child  and  teacher, 
and  its  great  variety  of  forms  of  work,  with 
their  differing  adaptations  to  the  needs  of  dif 
ferent  children.  If  we  have  permitted  to  our 
children  more  than  the  usual  amount  of  freedom, 
it  has  not  been  in  order  to  relax  or  decrease  real 
discipline,  but  because  under  our  particular  con 
ditions  larger  and  less  artificial  responsibilities 
could  thus  be  required  of  the  children,  and  their 
entire  development  of  body  and  spirit  be  more 
harmonious  and  complete.  And  I  am  confi 
dent  that  the  parents  who  have  intrusted  their 

THE  SCHOOL  AND  SOCIETY         129 

children  to  us  for  any  length  of  time  will  agree 
in  saying  that,  while  the  children  like,  or  love,  to 
come  to  school,  yet  work,  and  not  amusement, 
has  been  the  spirit  and  teaching  of  the  school ; 
and  that  this  freedom  has  been  granted  under 
such  conditions  of  intelligent  and  sympathetic 
oversight  as  to  be  a  means  of  upbuilding  and 
strengthening  character. 

At  the  end  of  three  years,  then,  we  are  not 
afraid  to  say  that  some  of  our  original  questions 
have  secured  affirmative  answers.  The  increase 
of  our  children  from  fifteen  to  almost  one  hun 
dred,  along  with  a  practical  doubling  of  fees,  has 
shown  that  parents  are  ready  for  a  form  of  edu 
cation  that  makes  individual  growth  its  sole  con 
trolling  aim.  The  presence  of  an  organized 
corps  of  instructors  demonstrates  that  thoroughly 
educated  teachers  are  ready  to  bring  to  elemen 
tary  education  the  same  resources  of  training, 
knowledge,  and  skill  that  have  long  been  at  the 
command  of  higher  education.  The  everyday 
work  of  the  school  shows  that  children  can  live 
in  school  as  out  of  it,  and  yet  grow  daily  in  wis 
dom,  kindness,  and  the  spirit  of  obedience  —  that 
learning  may,  even  with  little  children,  lay  hold 
upon  the  substance  of  truth  that  nourishes  the 
spirit,  and  yet  the  forms  of  knowledge  be  ob 
served  and  cultivated ;  and  that  growth  may  be 
genuine  and  thorough,  and  yet  a  delight. 




Educ  Dewey,   John 

D  The  School  and  society